The coronavirus pandemic has caused many people to lose their jobs or see a reduction in their pay, which has had a knock-on effect on the rental market. The government recommends that tenants struggling to pay their rent should speak to their landlords and attempt to reach a temporary agreement together. They recommend that the landlord agrees not to seek possession action for an agreed period.
Alternative solutions they suggest are that landlords accept a lower amount of rent, or agree on a plan with their tenants where they will pay off money owed at a later date.
The government has implemented emergency legislation during the pandemic to support renters. These include the following measures:
- £500 million has been made available to local authorities to support households experiencing financial difficulty. This money may help tenants to pay their rent and stay in their homes.
- On 26 March 2020, the government introduced a ruling that landlords must give all renters three months’ notice if they want to serve notice to end their tenancy. The landlord must wait until this three-month period has elapsed to begin court proceedings. This measure is to remain in force until 30 September 2020.
- The government also suspended all ongoing evictions in the system between 27 March 2020 and 25 June 2020. In addition, the housing benefit and Universal Credit increased.
These measures mean that landlords are not legally allowed to evict tenants during this time. The government advises tenants and landlords to work together to reach a payment scheme that works for both parties. To support landlords during this time, the government has ensured other measures are in place to protect landlords aside from general landlord insurance policies.
This includes liaising with lenders to allow landlords with buy-to-let mortgages to apply for a three-month mortgage payment holiday. For up-to-date information, you should consult the government’s website.
Unfortunately, many landlords with a rent guarantee insurance policy in place are unable to claim coronavirus. This is because many rent guarantee policies in the UK only agree to pay out once the landlord has served an eviction notice to their tenants after they’ve stopped paying rent. As the government has introduced measures to prevent landlords from beginning proceedings to get an eviction notice, landlords are unable to make claims on their rent guarantee insurance policies.
Owing to these circumstances, many rent guarantee insurance providers have suspended the sale of their rent guarantee products (July 2020).