The government has announced a radical package of measures to protect renters and landlords affected by coronavirus. As a result, no renter in either social or private accommodation will be forced out of their home during this difficult time.
Emergency legislation will be taken forward as an urgent priority so that landlords will not be able to start proceedings to evict tenants for at least a three-month period. As a result of these measures, no renters in private or social accommodation needs to be concerned about the threat of eviction.
Recognising the additional pressures the virus may put on landlords, we have confirmed that the three month mortgage payment holiday announced yesterday will be extended to landlords whose tenants are experiencing financial difficulties due to coronavirus. This will alleviate the pressure on landlords, who will be concerned about meeting mortgage payments themselves, and will mean no unnecessary pressure is put on their tenants as a result.
At the end of this period, landlords and tenants will be expected to work together to establish an affordable repayment plan, taking into account tenants’ individual circumstances.
To support this announcement the government has worked with the Master of the Rolls to widen the ‘pre-action protocol’ on possession proceedings, to include private renters and to strengthen its remit. This will support the necessary engagement between landlords and tenants to resolve disputes and landlords will have to reach out to tenants to understand the financial position they are in.
The government will also issue guidance which asks landlords to show compassion and to allow tenants who are affected by this to remain in their homes wherever possible. The National Housing Federation and Local Government Association have welcomed the new support for social renters and made clear that no one should be evicted because of the coronavirus.
This important step on buy to let mortgages ensures parity of support, further to the announcement yesterday that the government made for private mortgage holders. We are also announcing that those who have benefited from a government backed Help to Buy equity loan will be offered interest payment holidays if they are struggling to pay due to coronavirus.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick MP said “The government is clear – no renter who has lost income due to coronavirus will be forced out of their home, nor will any landlord face unmanageable debts.”
“These are extraordinary times and renters and landlords alike are of course worried about paying their rent and mortgage. Which is why we are urgently introducing emergency legislation to protect tenants in social and private accommodation from an eviction process being started.”
“These changes will protect all renters and private landlords ensuring everyone gets the support they need at this very difficult time.”
Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords association said “Landlord groups welcomes government support. We recognise the exceptional circumstances and we will work collaboratively with government to ensure these measures protect both landlords and tenants.”
Dame Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said “This news will come as a huge relief to many people. These are extraordinary times and it’s great to see the government stepping up and acting quickly to make sure people don’t lose their homes as a result of this crisis.”
“We called for an end to evictions as part of our package of measures to help protect people from the worst financial impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.”
“The government should now rapidly introduce a wider range of support to protect people’s incomes, including increasing sick pay and ensuring benefits give people enough to live on.”
Dave Miller, Client account manager at Spicerhaart Corporate Sales, said “Clearly, if support is being offered to homeowners, there needs to be some help for people living in rented accommodation. Indeed, they will often be in greater need of financial assistance. There needs to be careful thought, however, as to where this leaves private landlords.”
“Smaller-scale landlords often depend on the income from one or two rental properties. Even if lenders extend existing forbearance measures to buy-to-let mortgages, a total ban on evictions – even for a short period – could result in an extended period without receiving rental income.”
“This could blow a huge hole in the finances of many private-sector landlords.”