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What does the new lockdown mean for landlords and tenants?

1-minute read

Mollie Millman

7 January 2021

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Updated 8 January – the government has confirmed an extension to the evictions ban. We've amended a section below, which initially said the ban has been lifted.

Although the Prime Minister has announced a new national lockdown, there’s good news for landlords as the property market can remain open.

This is different to the first lockdown in March, and means people are still able to move home throughout the current restrictions.

It also means potential tenants can still view a home in person, and are allowed removal firms into their homes when they move in.

However, property experts have warned that people should only move if it’s absolutely necessary.

An increase in virtual viewings

Tomer Aboody, of property lender MT Finance, said: “Unlike the first lockdown, agents remain open for business and people are still keen to proceed with their move.”

He added that it’s now down to the comfort level of people attending viewings. Many properties to rent are now offering virtual viewings before any following physical viewing.

Maintaining safety guidelines

Mark Hayward, of the lettings body Propertymark, said: ”We welcome the news that the housing market is to remain open throughout this new lockdown period.

“But it is essential that all agents continue to play their part in reducing the spread of the virus by following all relevant guidance on how to safely conduct viewings.

“It is vital to keep people safe and keep the housing market moving through these uncertain times.”

The government advises that anyone viewing a property to rent must wash their hands and avoid touching surfaces. In addition, viewings can only involve members of a single household.

Propertymark has gone a step further by recommending that everyone at a viewing also wears gloves and face coverings.

Has the ban on evictions been lifted?

Despite the evictions ban initially being lifted, the government has confirmed a six-week extension until 21 February, when it'll be reviewed.

But following calls from the NRLA, Landlord Zone reports that landlords can enforce possession orders if their tenants are more than six months in arrears, regardless of when those arrears accrued. This means the arrears don't have to be from before the start of the coronavirus outbreak.

Different outlook in this lockdown

What’s also different about this lockdown is that there’s a vaccine in place, giving hope that there’s an end in sight.

Mr Aboody added: “We feel the market won’t be disrupted as it was last year because there is an end in sight, thanks to the rollout of the vaccine programme.”

What do you think about the news that the property market can stay open? Let us know in the comments below.

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We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

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