COVID-19: Guidance for Landlords and Tenants

COVID-19: Guidance for Landlords and Tenants

Everyone realises by now that we live in an unusual period full of changes and uncertainties. In response to the coronavirus outbreak, the Welsh AND UK government have announced a range of measures to support  landlords and tenants to help them meet the challenges of the situation.

Below are some quotes from the information on the Welsh government website that outlines the changes and instructions for landlords and tenants that should be identified.

Further information is available on:-

https://gov.wales/housing-coronavirus

If you have any further enquiries please contact Helen Wyn at helenwyn@ubc.cymru

 

Guidance for Landlords

Change in legislation: evictions

The Welsh Government is doing all it can to support people who rent in Wales. UK government’s Covid Bill will provide additional protection to tenants by extending the period in which a notice of eviction can be served to 3 months. These measures will also come into force in Wales.

The provision will protect tenants in Wales from eviction for a reasonable and specified period of time, in recognition of the uncertainty arising from the coronavirus pandemic. These measures will delay when a landlord can start court proceedings to seek possession of a property, by requiring them to provide tenants with 3 months’ notice of their intention to possess.

These changes will apply to secure, assured, assured shorthold, introductory and demoted tenancies and tenancies under the Rents Act 1977, thereby covering most tenants in the private and social rented sectors.

These measures have been designed as a temporary change, to provide tenants with additional support at this time. Accordingly, the provision proposes that the measures will be in place for 6 months, until the 30 September this year.

To enable the Welsh Ministers to continue to respond quickly, powers are included to extend by secondary legislation the notice period to up to 6 months and to extend the period of time for which it is applicable.

Visiting properties

Any non-urgent visits to properties should be postponed – this includes property viewings and non-urgent repairs and/or maintenance. Where urgent access is required to the property, if you have to visit a property and/or someone has to visit the property on your behalf, we recommend checking with the tenant to understand whether they are self-isolating and follow the medical advice provided.

The current gas safety advice for assessors and landlords/agents is available on the Gas Safe Register website.

From 1st April 2020, the UK government is bringing in legislation which will extend to cover existing tenancies. This means any domestic rental property that falls foul of the minimum requirements will be deemed unlawful and the landlord may be subject to a civil penalty of up to £5000.

We are working closely with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to ensure that the specific implications for landlords in the private sector in Wales are being considered, as they may face difficulties meeting these obligations because of the impact of COVID-19. Further information will be provided as soon as it become available.

See the latest announcements from the Welsh Government to protect yourself and others.

Supporting your tenants

UK government’s Covid Bill will provide additional protection to tenants by extending the period in which a notice of eviction can be served to 3 months. These measures will also come into force in Wales.

The provision will protect tenants in Wales from eviction for a reasonable and specified period of time, in recognition of the uncertainty arising from the coronavirus pandemic. These measures will delay when a landlord can start court proceedings to seek possession of a property, by requiring them to provide tenants with 3 months’ notice of their intention to possess. These changes will apply to secure, assured, assured shorthold, introductory and demoted tenancies and tenancies under the Rents Act 1977, thereby covering most tenants in the private and social rented sectors.

These measures have been designed as a temporary change, to provide tenants with additional support at this time. Accordingly, the provision proposes that the measures will be in place for 6 months, until the 30 September this year.

To enable the Welsh Ministers to continue to respond quickly, powers are included to extend by secondary legislation the notice period to up to 6 months and to extend the period of time for which it is applicable.

If you are experiencing financial difficulties meeting your mortgage repayments because of COVID-19, you may be entitled to a mortgage payment holiday for 3 months. This also applies to landlords where tenants are experiencing financial difficulty because of COVID-19.

The offer can be made available to customers who are up to date with payments and not already in arrears. If you are concerned about your current financial situation, you should contact your lender at the earliest opportunity to discuss if this is a suitable option for you. Further information on support available can be found here.

It is important to remember that your tenant/s may be experiencing a reduced income as a direct result of self-isolation and UK government’s advice on the pandemic. If your tenant/s is/are struggling to pay the rent communicate with them and agree arrangements for them to repay any arrears incurred at the earliest opportunity.

The Minister for Housing and Local Government is clear that she expects landlords to pass on the benefit of any mortgage repayment holiday to tenants.

A number of emergency measures have been put in place to ensure vulnerable tenants will not have their utilities suspended during this period. For more information see: Government agrees measures with energy industry to support vulnerable people through COVID-19 on GOV.UK.

Guidance for tenants

Change in legislation: evictions

The Welsh Government is doing all it can to support people who rent in Wales. UK government’s Covid Bill will provide additional protection to tenants by extending the period in which a notice of eviction can be served to 3 months. These measures will also come into force in Wales.

The provision will protect tenants in Wales from eviction for a reasonable and specified period of time, in recognition of the uncertainty arising from the coronavirus pandemic. These measures will delay when a landlord can start court proceedings to seek possession of a property, by requiring them to provide tenants with 3 months’ notice of their intention to possess.

These changes will apply to secure, assured, assured shorthold, introductory and demoted tenancies and tenancies under the Rents Act 1977, thereby covering most tenants in the private and social rented sectors.

These measures have been designed as a temporary change, to provide tenants with additional support at this time. Accordingly, the provision proposes that the measures will be in place for 6 months, until the 30 September this year.

To enable the Welsh Ministers to continue to respond quickly, powers are included to extend by secondary legislation the notice period to up to 6 months and to extend the period of time for which it is applicable.

Financial difficulty and rent arrears

If you have to self-isolate and as a direct result will experience difficulties paying your rent, talk to your landlord and/or managing agent at the earliest opportunity to make them aware of the challenges you face, as they may be able to put a plan in place to help you repay any money owed or provide you with a rent holiday (if they are receiving a mortgage holiday themselves).

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