Honourable and personal residential letting experts

18Mar

Tenants: will coronavirus affect my tenancy?

Can we help?

It is clear the coronavirus pandemic is likely to have a wide impact across the whole economy, with all businesses and individuals experiencing some loss, cost or inconvenience. We will do what we can to help you minimise any adverse impact on you.

As we are in extraordinary times, we know some people may feel particularly concerned, or isolated. The team at Maxine Lester are going to do what they can to keep delivering our great service. Providing we can all work, we expect to have some time to help others in this time of crisis, as we won’t be doing some of the things we normally do.

If you’re alone or need help, give us a call. We will see if there is something we can do, even if it is just having a chat!

01480 494939

We have had a number of conversations with tenants and landlords expressing concern about how tenancies may be affected. Positively everyone seems to be pulling together, recognising this is a new and extraordinary situation.  Given the call for social isolation and working from home where possible, we thought it may be helpful to update you to address some key questions you may have.

What if I cannot pay my rent?

This is the obvious big question, as a wide range of businesses may be affected, which may mean your earnings could be affected. We hope that does not happen to you, but if it does it is important to let us know as soon as possible. Where you have any communication from your employer we will ask to see that to help explain your situation.  Your landlord may be able to use that to get a payment pause on their mortgage payments to match the rent you can’t pay. If you can’t pay your whole rent, we will ask you to pay what you can.

 

Clearly the formal legal position remains the rent is due for payment, in the same way as your landlord’s mortgage payments will still need to be made. Therefore if you can pay then you should, to prevent accumulating a debt. Please remember that if there is more than one of you on the tenancy, then you are both legally liable for the tenancy, so you need to work together to pay the rent where you can. The key is getting in touch as soon as possible, so everyone is aware early.

Our team are planning to be available on the phones and email during this situation. Any concerns about your rent then please email [email protected] or call us on 01480 494967

Will my landlord evict me if I can’t pay rent?

Under normal circumstances, that may happen. However many landlords we have spoken to understand this is an extraordinary situation and want to work to help everyone through this, so things can get back to normal as soon as possible.

Apart from that the Government has said it will stop any new eviction proceeding starting during the Corona crisis.

For clarity the formal position is the rent will still be due. However we know exceptional arrangements may be needed during these exceptional times as everyone is going to experience some difficulty.

Will I be charged fees if I can’t pay my rent?

No! The law prevents any fees. In theory you can be charged interest on any debt at 3% above Bank of England base rate a year. On £1,000 rent that would be less than £1 a week.

In any event, our focus is going to be helping people get back to their normal payment patterns as soon as possible.

If I can’t pay rent will this affect any future reference for me?

If you previously have a good payment record, you have only had a difficulty during this crisis and have keep us fully up to date with any issues, we do not believe there is any reason to give a poor reference regarding your payment history. This is an exceptional situation, and we are treating it as such.

What if I need repairs at my home?

We will now reduce the contact between you and our team, or you and the contractors we work with. We have already had people expressing concern that they are protecting themselves in their home, they don’t want strangers coming in if it can be avoided, which is entirely reasonable.

To achieve this we will focus on getting priority repairs completed e.g. no heat, no hot water, no power etc.

  • If you have any priority work you can email [email protected] or call us on 01480 494967. Our team is planning to be available on the phones, and our emergency out of hours contractor also plans to be available for priority repairs.
  • Any works that are not priority will need to wait to minimise social contact. However, please let us know what is needed, so we can speak with your landlord and instruct contractors to start work as soon as things get back to normal. To do this please email [email protected]
  • Where repairs are needed, our contractors will liaise with you to clarify whether you have been tested positive or exposed to someone with the virus in the last 2 weeks. If so they will ask you to keep as far away from them as possible during the visit.
  • There is also the question of periodic safety checks required by law e.g. gas safety certificates. We will continue to try and arrange these; however, we understand if you do not want someone in your come to do this work until things have returned to normal.
  • We will also postpone any routine property visits to minimise travel and contact for staff and you.

What if I want to end my tenancy?

Your legal right to serve notice to end your tenancy should not be affected. The main question is do you have somewhere to live after your tenancy ends? If not, are you likely to find somewhere? We have already had people cancel looking at new properties to keep as isolated as possible. We have also had people change their mind about leaving a property until the period of isolation is over, as they consider visiting a number of homes to find a new home an unnecessary risk. Given this, we anticipate most people will stay in their existing property until things return to normal.

If you want to discuss ending your tenancy, or withdrawing your notice to leave, then please contact [email protected]

If you have any thoughts or concerns about this or other questions we have not covered, then please get in touch on [email protected]

or call us on

01480 494939

We have a page dedicated to tenant corona questions, which we will keep updated as the situation develops.