COVID-19 Update for Landlords

Following the advice from the Government concerning the Covid-19 pandemic we have made the tough decision to close the office and all staff will be working from home. As this is uncharted territory, changes may have to be made as the situation unfolds over the next few weeks & months ahead.

We have also reduced our “office hours” to 10.00-16.00 Monday to Friday. Closed Saturday and Sunday. You should still call us on 020 8255 5526 and you will be given a series of choices, but please be aware that you may be diverted to a voicemail where we will endeavour to call you back as soon as possible. We are all available on the normal email addresses.

 

Properties available to let

If you have a property that is currently being advertised for Let it will still remain on the market and we plan to do video viewings as best we can.

 

Rent payments

We expect Tenants to pay their rent as normal, but we are also prepared for some Tenants to ask for time to pay as a result of an event out of their control: This could be as a result of being laid off at work as some companies are and will continue to make cutbacks in this challenging climate.

Our advice, (if this scenario becomes a reality) is for you to allow us to negotiate with the Tenant, we can look at them paying a lower fixed amount and then agree to a payment plan going forward.   If you have a mortgage to pay, it may be an idea to contact your lender now to discuss the possibility of a mortgage payment holiday and prepare yourself for the worse- case scenario of not receiving full rental payment for a few months.

We have explained that mortgage payment breaks are only being offered to landlords whose tenants are experiencing financial difficulty due to the Covid-19 outbreak and as such, they will need to provide us with the following information to allow your landlord to apply (if they have a buy-to-let mortgage):

 

  • Sign off note from Doctor (obtainable via 111)
  • Comparable wage slips showing a decrease in income or SSP payments
  • Bank statements for comparison showing the same decrease in income
  • Letter from your employer showing reduced hours/layoff
  • Letter from your accountant confirming a reduction of income
  • Copy of benefits claim

 

We have also pointed all of our tenants to the following sites to get the help they can to pay their rent (which also may be helpful to you)…

 

Self Employment & Universal Credit
https://www.gov.uk/self-employment-and-universal-credit

Employment & Support Allowance
https://www.gov.uk/employment-support-allowance

Covid-19 Small Business Government Grant
https://smallbusiness.co.uk/how-do-i-get-the-government-30…/

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan
https://smallbusiness.co.uk/how-do-i-apply-for-a-coronavir…/

Citizen’s Advice
https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/…/if-youre-struggling-wi…/

Emergency Funding
https://www.stepchange.org/debt-info/emergency-funding.aspx

Please share – lots of people are self-employed, and these links tell them how to access financial help from the Government.

Claiming Universal Credit if you’re self-employed – eligibility, reporting your earnings, start up periods

 

Maintenance issues

We will be advising Tenants in let properties not to report non urgent maintenance issues, as we have to be understanding of Contractors who may not be able to attend or may refuse to attend due to the possible risks to health.  Urgent maintenance issues and other issues that cannot be left with will be dealt with accordingly with the workforce we have available to us.

There is no guidance yet from the Government in regard to legally required safety checks that cannot be completed in the instance that Tenants do not allow access into their homes from third party contractors OR if contractors refuse to go into the property due to health & safety concerns.  We are hoping that the Government adopt a sensible approach to this and will make allowances for when safety certificates run over the expiry dates.

 

Property inspections & tenants moving in & out

Property inspections have been postponed immediately. We have a plan of action to still hopefully be able to effectively complete check-ins and check-outs. Business will continue as normally as it can in these unprecedented times, and we would like to thank you in advance for your continued support.

 

With best wishes

Patricia Shepherd Letting & Management