Saturday, 28 Mar 2020

Emergency measures announced to help renters struggling during COV19 pandemic

The government has said it will table emergency legislation to suspend new evictions from social or private rented accommodation during the coronavirus pandemic.

The legislation, expected in the Commons next week, will mean that landlords will not be able to start proceedings to evict tenants for at least a three-month period.

As part of the scheme, it will also give landlords a three-month mortgage payment holiday for those whose tenants are experiencing difficulties due to coronavirus.

At the end of the three-month break landlords and tenants will be expected to work together to establish an affordable repayment plan, taking into account tenants’ individual circumstances, the government has announced.


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Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick MP said: “The Government is clear – no renter who has lost income due to coronavirus will be forced out of their home, nor will any landlord face unmanageable debts.

“These are extraordinary times and renters and landlords alike are of course worried about paying their rent and mortgage. Which is why we are urgently introducing emergency legislation to protect tenants in social and private accommodation from an eviction process being started.

“These changes will protect all renters and private landlords ensuring everyone gets the support they need at this very difficult time.”

Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords association said:  “Landlord groups welcomes government support. We recognise the exceptional circumstances and we will work collaboratively with government to ensure these measures protect both landlords and tenants”

In a joint statement, the Residential Landlords Association and the National Landlords Association said: “Our priority is to ensure that tenants are secure in their homes during this crisis. The three month buy to let mortgage payment holiday will take a lot of pressure off landlords enabling them to be as flexible as possible with tenants facing difficulties with their rent payments.

“No responsible landlord will be considering evicting tenants because of difficulties arising from the current situation. There does need to be some flexibility though such as with dealing with a tenant engaging in anti-social behaviour. This could cause misery for fellow tenants or neighbours especially when they are going to be spending a lot of time together.

“We would like to see further measures taken including pausing the final phase of restricting mortgage interest relief to the basic rate of income tax due in April.

“In addition we need to do all we can to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. There should be national guidelines for local authorities to suspend routine inspections of properties and a temporary halt on enforcement action where landlords are unable to fulfil certain required obligations because of the health risk posed to them, tenants and contractors.”

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