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What does the coronavirus pandemic mean for landlords?

2-minute read

What does the coronavirus pandemic mean for landlords?
Mollie Millman

Mollie Millman

31 March 2020

While information on the coronavirus pandemic is continually changing, there are a few clear ways the outbreak is affecting landlords.

The government is putting measures in place to make sure tenancies are kept going through this period of instability – we've laid out the details on how these measures affect landlords and their tenants.

Mortgage and rent payment holidays

A three-month mortgage payment holiday for homeowners affected by the coronavirus outbreak was included in the measures announced by the Chancellor.

This payment holiday is now extended to tenants who are struggling to afford the roof over their head as a result of the virus outbreak, with the government announcing a ban on evictions ‘while this national emergency is taking place’.

Ban on evictions

The government said: “Emergency legislation will be taken forward as an urgent priority so that landlords will not be able to start proceedings to evict tenants for at least a three-month period.

“As a result of these measures, no renters in private or social accommodation need to be concerned about the threat of eviction.”

Coronavirus mortgage payment holidays for landlords

At the same time, the government extended the three-month payment holiday to landlords, to try and make sure they don’t face ‘unmanagement debts’.

The government said: “Recognising the additional pressures the virus may put on landlords, we have confirmed that the three-month mortgage payment holiday… will be extended to landlords whose tenants are experiencing financial difficulties due to coronavirus.

“This will alleviate the pressure on landlords, who will be concerned about meeting mortgage payments themselves, and will mean no unnecessary pressure is put on their tenants as a result.”

Rent repayment plans

The government added that tenants would be expected to agree a repayment plan once the outbreak has been brought under control.

It said: “At the end of this period, landlords and tenants will be expected to work together to establish an affordable repayment plan, taking into account tenants’ individual circumstances.”

Other measures to keep tenancies going

The government added that it would ensure the Local Housing Allowance would cover at least 30 per cent of market rents in a claimant’s area, in a further measure to support tenants and landlords.

It’s also providing grants to cover up to 80 per cent of wages, where workers are kept on but unable to work – another move that may go some way to keeping tenancies going.

The Residential Landlords Association and the National Association welcomed the announcements – in particular, the grants to cover wages.

In a joint statement, they said: “We warmly welcome the announcement by the Chancellor. It will give tenants and landlords much greater confidence that rents can be paid through the ongoing crisis, which is clearly preferable to deferring rents through rent payments holidays.”

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