COVID-19 Update for Landlords

Mortgage Payment Holiday

There is guidance that provisions are in place by way of mortgage payment holidays for up to 3 months, but not all landlords are eligible for this. It will be up to the individual Landlord to apply directly to their mortgage company.

For buy to let landlords, the key criteria is that their tenant must have been directly or indirectly affected by the coronavirus and the suggestion is that Landlords can self-certify on this.

The second essential requirement is that you must be up to date on your current mortgage payments. The idea is that this will be on the understanding, if applicable, that you can offer a similar holiday period to your tenant.

At the end of the mortgage holiday and while payments are suspended for the duration of the mortgage holiday, interest will continue to accrue on the mortgage and those mortgage payments will eventually have to be made up.

Your mortgage lender will be able to discuss options with you to help repay the additional interest accrued. UK Finance has confirmed that ‘firms will make every effort to ensure that the payment holiday does not negatively impact on your credit file.’

Please contact your Lender to discuss all available options.

How do I report and deal with maintenance whilst the lockdown is in force?

Maintenance can be reported in the usual way. For obvious reasons only emergency maintenance will be handled during this time, with all non-urgent maintenance being logged and dealt with as soon as possible. Please contact the office on the usual number – 01424 430011 or alternatively by email – lettings@rushwittwilson.co.uk to report any problems.

For out of hours emergencies only and when the office is closed, please contact 01424 834333. This service should only be used in a genuine emergency.

Safety, Certification & Inspections

Gas safety certificates & other necessary certification will continue to be arranged unless a tenant is self-isolating or has refused access and we are therefore unable to attend.

In these situations, we will need the tenant to send us an email stipulating that they are in self-isolation, how long for and the reasons why they are unable to allow access for the inspection to take place. This will then be rescheduled when they are out of isolation.

Routine six-monthly management inspections will not be carried out during this time and will be rescheduled to a later date. We are working to try and set up an app to send out to tenants as a way to provide us with an interim inspection & report any issues via your tablet or smartphone, however more details on this will follow in due course.

In the meantime, inspections will be rearranged and an alternative appointment will be given. This may also be subject to change.

What are a Landlords responsibilities regarding certificates & maintenance during the lockdown?

As a Landlord, you will still be responsible to undertake any necessary certification and emergency maintenance in the usual way and do still have a legal obligation to keep your property safe.

However, this has to be balanced against the risk of infection. We appreciate that this is difficult given current restraints if access is being denied for the vulnerable and anyone self-isolating.

We will arrange on your behalf in the usual way and document any response that we have from a tenant. We are requesting that if access is denied via a tenant, that they just email us with the reasons why and a guide to time frames that this is likely to be applicable. The maintenance will then be carried out as soon as possible & once these restrictions are lifted.

The Governments guidance to local authorities is to encourage them to take a pragmatic, risk-based approach to enforcement during this time.

However please do bear in mind that everything possible should be done to ensure compliance, as this is not yet confirmed and is this is guidance only (which is subject to change)!

 

If you wish to speak to a member of our team, please email us at lettings@rushwittwilson.co.uk or give call us on 01424 446 916.