Landlord Coronavirus Pandemic Advice
Businesses are finding themselves in an unprecedented situation with regards to the coronavirus pandemic. The inevitable economic recession is hard to anticipate due to the nature of this particular virus and we’re not yet sure when we’ll be back to ‘business as usual’. That’s why it’s so important to plan for your business’ short, medium and long term survival at this time.
Many small, independent businesses have been forced to close temporarily and must access the Government’s support schemes to stay afloat, in addition many staff have been furloughed too. Even if you’re a business director and have furloughed yourself you are still allowed to carry out essential business administrative activities. This includes conducting business with your accounting team who may be able to suggest specific financial methods to help your business at this time.
We’re receiving updates and refinements to the support on offer on a daily basis and our team are hard at work taking calls and emails from our clients. Please do keep in contact with us so we can assist you in whatever way possible.
Understandably many small businesses have the same concerns right now, you may find some of the answers you’re looking for on this page – but please feel free to contact us for specific guidance.
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Support specifically for landlords in England, Wales and Northern Ireland has not been announced, though you may qualify for a business loan to help cover lost revenue temporarily. In Scotland private renters can access support for lost income due specifically to the coronavirus pandemic.
There may well be more announcements to come in this area, with the eviction freeze coming to an end (will it be extended?) and many workers unsure as to how long the 80% furlough scheme will continue to support them for.
This is best decided on a case-by-case basis, ideally in agreement with your tenants and your accountant. Remember, a mortgage holiday is simply a break from your usual payments. The full amount will need to be repaid over the following months as agreed upon with your provider. The same is true for your tenants.
There are a variety of options available to individuals, you can point them in the direction of our COVID-19 guidance here or the Government website. Essentially if your tenants are experiencing income difficulties it’s in both of your best interests to work together. Your tenants may be able to claim support via Universal Credit, or loans specific to the current situation. There are a minority of individuals who will be particularly hard-hit by the pandemic and who do not qualify for much in the way of government assistance. So remember that they are under tremendous pressure too – it may be worth negotiating a reduced rate as a temporary measure if possible.
Yes you can, in-person viewings are allowed. Many estate agents and letting management companies are doing their best to show properties online virtually to help encourage renters, offering more photographs and 360 degree tours if available, but in-person viewings are permitted. Speak with your letting agent to confirm their current guidance on viewing properties safely, or if you usually let independently you may wish to seek additional legal advice to ensure you’re operating safely.
The Government’s advice on home moving during the coronavirus outbreak may be a helpful resource.
In March a three month freeze on eviction proceedings was announced by the government. This has been continually extended – at time of writing this freeze has been extended until Jan 2021, with further extensions likely. If you have eviction proceedings in-place they will be frozen for now, if you wish to issue a new eviction notice it must be sent after the freeze is lifted, as stipulated by the government.
This applies to all evictions, not only those relating to the coronavirus.
I rent commercial spaces and my tenants business is closed down - can I still demand the rent be paid?
Similar rules to non-commercial rental apply, you may not evict commercial tenants if they cannot pay their rent due to the pandemic, though guidance on this particular issue has not been updated since March 2020.
If your commercial tenant’s business has been forced to close they may still have some capital from government grants, if so they need to try and keep their rent paid. It is a very difficult situation and it’s best to come to a joint agreement regarding commercial rent. You may be able to get a mortgage holiday from your lender, or you and your tenant may agree to a temporary reduction in rates. Remember, it will be extremely difficult in current circumstances to simply evict a business and find a new tenant, it’s best to work together and find a mutual solution.
We’re here for you. We are of course experiencing unprecedented levels of contact from our valued clients, but we are working hard to get in touch with everyone as quickly as possible. While we’re operating a skeleton staff in our Manchester and Stockport offices, all other staff are working from home and we are still fully operational. So please contact us via the usual phone numbers and email addresses, or you can complete this contact form.
Call Stockport: 0161 477 6789
Call Manchester: 0161 336 2222
Call London: 0203 174 1436
We’re also looking to keep you up to date as efficiently as possible. We have begun sending important email updates to all clients: