How Landlords Can Help Tenants During The Covid-19 Crisis
Landlords across the UK can help their tenants in a number of ways during the Covid-19 pandemic, one firm of accountants says.
And with many landlords facing financial uncertainty over whether tenants are able to keep up with rent payments, the chartered accountancy practice has put together some helpful tips and advice for landlords to plan for the unexpected. They say that landlords should:
Speak with their tenant:
Landlords should speak with their tenant at the earliest opportunity and ask them how they have been impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic and their ability for paying rent.
However, the accountancy says that landlords should show compassion since everyone is facing growing pressures so landlords should consider how they ask the question. Having compassion, they say, will probably result in a better outcome.
Comply with rental laws:
The accountancy firm says that landlords should comply with all legislation covering evictions from private and social rented accommodation during the Coronavirus crisis.
The new legislation states that tenants cannot be evicted for three months and all current eviction proceedings have been halted.
Contact your BTL mortgage lender:
If a tenant has indicated that they may struggle to pay rent, which may impact on a landlord's ability to meet their BTL mortgage repayments, then contacting their mortgage lender to secure a mortgage payment holiday is advised.
Mortgage lenders are currently setting up the ability for making this request online to avoid lengthy waits calling telephone helplines.
However, the accountancy firm says that landlords need to appreciate that interest will still be accruing on their mortgage debt.
Search for a better BTL mortgage deal:
If a landlord is nearing the end, or has come out of a fixed term BTL mortgage then this is the time to discuss with their current mortgage lender whether they will offer better rates.
And since the Bank of England has reduced interest rates to 0.1%, this may be the opportunity for landlords to consider switching their mortgage lender altogether.
No action can be taken by a landlord
The tax manager at Sheards Accountants, Jane Senior, said: "The legislation means that no action can be taken by a landlord if their tenant cannot keep up with repayments due to being furloughed or being made redundant.
"The legislation offers advice for landlords to show compassion and buy to let mortgages are now being included in the mortgage payment freeze which will help reduce costs and take the burden off landlords."
She added that government guidance recommends that those tenants who are worried about rents and are currently in difficult financial circumstances should speak with their landlord about how to put together a plan to have a rent holiday or manage their monthly payments effectively.