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What is the latest government support for landlords and tenants – residential and commercial?

Posted on 25th March 2020 - News

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Many landlord organisations in the UK have issued calls for the government to build on its steps and increase support for the private rented sector.

The areas currently being requested are increased efforts to support a reduction in landlord costs for those without mortgages, examples of this being postponement of all but emergency repairs and waiving costs such as ground rent fees in relation to leasehold properties.

In addition to this, a request in boosting tenant incomes by action such as scrapping the 5 week wait for universal credit and ensuring the housing element properly reflects rent levels.

Whilst the government continues to review its support package for landlords, here is what we do know.

Residential landlords and tenants

The mortgage holiday payments announced for home owners is being extended to landlords which means landlords will have a three-month mortgage payment holiday on buy to let mortgages.

The new legislation which is expected to be passed this week will also prevent landlords from evicting tenants who run into financial difficulties during the period of the Covid-19 emergency.

Now "No renter in either social or private accommodation will be forced out of their home during this difficult time" said the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Robert Jenrick MP.

The purpose of the mortgage holiday scenario is to stop tenants being evicted. However, it is yet to be seen what evidence lenders may require to evidence i.e. tenants have lost their jobs and whether in reality they will have time to apply this on a case by case basis.

Lenders have confirmed that they will add landlords rolled up interest to the outstanding mortgage and as a result, the mortgage balance and monthly payments will increase.

In addition, no new possession proceedings through applications to the court are to start during the crisis.

Commercial Tenants

The government has also announced that commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction if they miss a payment in the next three months.

As commercial tenants will still be liable for the rent after this period the government is actively monitoring the impact on commercial landlords’ cashflow and continues to be in dialogue with them.

Therefore, the measures included in the emergency Coronavirus Bill currently going through Parliament will mean no business will be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment in the next three months.

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