COVID-19 Residential Lettings F.A.Q

I have a property I am looking to find a tenant for, is this still possible? 

Yes, we are still actively marketing and finding tenants for properties, just in a no contact social distancing friendly way. We will do video tours, video call viewings and can arrange access to empty properties where available. It is therefore perfectly possible to find a tenant for your property, although demand is relatively low at the moment. We are anticipating a significant surge of demand once the lock-down restrictions are eased. Contact us today for more information, and to talk through your options.

Is my rent still due? / Will my tenant continue to pay rent?

The short answer to this question is yes. Whilst clearly this is a difficult time for everyone, the lockdown and the complications arising from this do not automatically mean that rent is no longer due. The government have put solutions into place that mean that the majority of people will still have an income and the ability to pay rent, however if there is a genuine issue which means that it may be difficult to pay rent then it is important that this is discussed with your property manager at the earliest opportunity. 

Does the Gas Safety inspection still need to be done?

Legally, every property with Gas Appliances must have a valid Gas Safety Certificate each year. The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) are responsible for enforcing this law. They have said that despite the current COVID-19 pandemic, that these still need to go ahead. Therefore, we are still arranging and carrying out gas safety inspections in order to ensure the safety of tenants.

But what about the proposed electrical inspection requirements?

Legislation has now been passed which requires from the 1st July 2020 that before any new tenancy can be entered into, the property must have a valid EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report). Up to the date of writing (27/04/2020) there has been no guidance issued by the government about whether there will be a delay due to COVID-19. Therefore, for the moment we shall act as if the legislation is coming into force and will be ensuring that any property that comes onto the market around this time or after, has a valid EICR.  

Can I serve notice to end my tenancy?

As a landlord you are still able to serve a Section 21 notice to seek possession of the property and also a Section 8 notice if there has been a breach of tenancy, however the Coronavirus Act 2020 has extended the minimum notice period (which used to be two months for a Section 21 and 14 days for a Section 8 notice) to three months for both. The other consideration, is that the courts are not accepting new claims for possession at the moment, therefore if a tenant were not to comply with the notice then it would be a while before court action could be taken to evict them.

As a tenant you can still serve notice in line with your tenancy agreement, however, you must be sure that you are able to move once notice has been given as it cannot be revoked. We would only recommend that people move if it is absolutely essential given the current situation.

Are you still carrying out repairs?

At the moment we are only carrying out repairs that are classed as an emergency, for example a boiler breakdown, issues with toilets, washing facilities, sewerage or leaks. However please do continue to report all repair issues in the normal way, as what is considered an emergency does vary and even if your repair is not dealt with immediately we can put plans in place to get someone out once the lockdown restrictions are lifted.

Andrew Kettle