Now that the coronavirus crisis is disrupting every aspect of British life, landlords may be wondering how this will affect their rental income. As many businesses, such as catering and retail outlets, have been forced to close, a largenumber of people are out of work as a result. Should a landlord chase tenants for rent during these unprecedented times?
Make (non-face-to-face) contact
A good place to start would be to get in touch with your tenant/s – especially if you suspect that their income may have been adversely affected. Those who have lost their jobs might be entitled to claim state benefits – which may include housing benefit to cover their rent – but this can take time, especially during periods of high demand such as this. Do, of course, observe social distancing rules by getting in touch by phone or email rather than in person.
Draw up a realistic plan
If you can, agreeing to defer rental payments for the time being may be the best way forward, with a view to drawing up some sort of repayment plan at a later date. Eviction would not be a realistic option in any case, as tenants are currently entitled to three months’ notice before a landlord can even make a court application. This applies until 30 September 2020 at present.
If your rental income is used to pay a buy-to-let mortgage, then there’s good news for landlords as well as owner-occupiers, as they may also be able to get a ‘mortgage payment holiday’ until the crisis has passed.