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Advice for landlords and agents

What can I do to support my tenant?

Landlords, agents and tenants need to work together during this period and follow public health advice.

  • check in on your tenants now and again; keep the communication open (do this by either email, text or phone)
  • if you are worried about the welfare of your tenant, get advice from the community response team on 0300 1237052
  • if your tenant informs you they have lost their job; refer them to support services/benefit advice.

If your tenant is having difficulty paying the rent, please encourage them to get support from us.

My tenant has stopped paying rent, what can I do?

  • speak to your tenant to explore the situation; it may be that they have lost their income
  • explore the possibility of deferring some rent payments until after the three month period has passed with an agreement for repayment
  • obtain tenants agreement to refer them to the Housing Early Prevention Service or other support services so they can apply for benefits and support
  • ask your mortgage company for a ‘mortgage holiday’; this entitles you to a three month break period
  • keep track of rent payments/missing payments during this time
  • if the tenant is in receipt of universal credit; it may be possible to arrange direct payment. Information on how to apply can be found below.

Will my tenant be responsible for paying back any arrears?

Yes, and a repayment schedule should be implemented in due course. Use support services to assist you and the tenant with any rent arrears.

Contact the Housing Early Prevention Service for advice on how to proceed.

If the tenant is more than two months in arrears you may be able to apply for direct payments, if the tenant is in receipt of benefits.

Evictions and moving home

The Government has suspended all evictions until after 21 February 2021 when this will be reviewed. Evictions are now on hold; except in very limited circumstances for example, serious ASB or rent arrears of at least 6 months.

A 6-month notice period is required for all other grounds, including Section 21 notices and where accrued rent arrears are less than the value of 6 months’ rent.

The Courts are now open and possession action can continue, however, no evictions can take place.

The government has published new guidance for landlords and tenants on the possession action process through the courts.

Home moves are currently able to continue, viewings are able to go ahead providing appropriate social distancing guidelines are adhered to. Follow the national guidance on moving home safely, which includes advice on social distancing, letting fresh air in, and wearing a face covering.

Please be patient, flexible and negotiate with existing and potential tenants regarding start and end dates of tenancies.

Entering the property

Landlords are still responsible for repairs and maintenance.

Tenants can ask for repairs/maintenance to be delayed if they are shielding or self-isolating.

Landlords can take steps to carry out repairs and safety inspections provided these are undertaken in line with public health advice and the relevant coronavirus (COVID-19) legislation.  

If you have to arrange a gas safety check, please follow Government advice.

Where to find more information