Four questions tenants are asking landlords in East London

In this article, we look at the Government’s guidelines around questions tenants and landlords across East London are asking us.

The Government has issued information about the rights and responsibilities that both tenants and landlords have during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Below are four common questions being asked by people right now which the Government have addressed in their document – Coronavirus Guidance for Landlords and Tenants.

1)    As a tenant, should I stop paying rent during the outbreak?

Tenants should continue to pay rent and abide by all other terms of their tenancy agreement to the best of their ability.

The Government has a substantial package of financial support available to tenants, and where they can pay the rent, as usual, they should do. Tenants who are unable to do so should speak to their landlord at the earliest opportunity.

In many if not most cases, the COVID-19 outbreak will not affect tenants’ ability to pay rent. If your ability to pay will be affected, it’s vital to have an early conversation with your landlord.

Rent levels agreed in your tenancy agreement remain legally due, and you should discuss with your landlord if you are in difficulty.

2)    What can I do about rent arrears?

Tenants should continue to pay rent and abide by all other terms of their tenancy agreement to the best of their ability. Tenants who are unable to do so should speak to their landlord at the earliest opportunity.

The Government’s full answer to this question has much more detail and can be accessed in the Coronavirus Guidance for Landlords and Tenants – which we would be happy to send you a copy of.

3)    What can I do about mortgage repayments?

Mortgage lenders have agreed to offer payment holidays of up to three months where this is needed due to Coronavirus-related hardship, including for buy-to-let mortgages. The sum owed remains and mortgages continue to accrue interest during this period.

Where a tenant is unable to pay their rent in full the landlord – if a mortgagor – should discuss this with their lender.

4)    As a landlord, should I stop charging rent during this period?

Landlords are not required to do this. Most tenants will be able to pay rent as normal and should continue to do so, as they will remain liable for the rent during this period.

There is no ‘one-size fits all’ approach, as each tenant’s circumstance is different and some will be worse affected in terms of their ability to pay than others.

It is important for landlords to be flexible and have a frank and open conversation with their tenants at the earliest opportunity, to allow both parties to agree a sensible way forward.

The phrase ‘no one size fits all’ is particularly appropriate in this situation. And we’re seeing plenty of reasonable co-operation and goodwill from tenants and landlords as we navigate our way through these challenging times.

This is a fast-changing situation, and we appreciate you may have many more questions.

So, please call us on either of our usual numbers or drop us an email and we can send you the full version of the Government’s latest guidance for tenants and landlords.

Our offices may be closed but we’re still open for business and here to help our landlords, tenants and community.

For the latest updates and advice from the Government visit: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

And remember: Stay Home – Protect the NHS – Save Lives