MHCLG issued Covid-19 guidance for landlords and tenants
The Ministry of Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has published Covid-19 guidance for landlords and tenants that provides an overview on notices for seeking possession, court proceedings and property access in order to meet health and safety obligations.
Notices for seeking possession
The guidance emphasises that based on the provisions of the Coronavirus Act 2020, most landlords will be unable to start possession proceedings unless their tenant has received three months’ notice and this restriction will remain in force until 30 September 2020. During this period, the guidance confirms that tenants are expected to continue paying rent and those unable to, can tap into the financial support available for assistance. You can find complementary guidance on these changes on our website here.
Court proceedings that are seeking possession are strongly discouraged unless there are compelling grounds to resort to such action. This position is supported by restrictions in the legislation which prevent the hearing of new or existing cases for possession for 90 days dating back to 27 March 2020. Theses provisions cover both tenants and licensees but excludes lodgers, holiday lets and hostel accommodation for asylum seekers. Mortgagees and landlords will also be prevented from starting possession cases against homeowners and leaseholders respectively.
The guidance calls for a pragmatic approach in relation to access to the property being granted so that legal obligations relating to repair and gas and electrical safety can be met. Landlords are advised to document all attempts that relate to gaining access to the property and retain all correspondence to show that they took all the reasonable steps to remain compliant. You can find complementary guidance on how you can manage your property on our website here.
Local authority enforcement
Local authorities are being asked to approach enforcement with pragmatism and apply common-sense. The guidance confirms that an example of this could involve pausing the introduction of non-mandatory licensing schemes so that resources are focused to where they will be most needed.
Some local authorities have already begun applying these principles in various ways such as:
- Camden: licensing applications will still be processed but property inspections will be deferred to later date
- Durham: Selective licensing consultation will be extended to 24 May 2020
- Liverpool: property visits/inspection will be suspended until further notice unless there are compelling circumstances such as a lack of gas/electricity, flooding, fire risk and risk of collapse.
- Luton: Selective licensing has been deferred but the council will still offer landlords first and second month discounts.
- Newcastle: Implementation of selective and additional licensing schemes has been postponed until 6 July 2020
What you can do
Landlords are encouraged to review the guidance on our website which covers provisions relating to possession rules, financial support and property management. Government guidance should also be reviewed and that can be viewed here.
Local authority licensing update
Following the outbreak of coronavirus, local authorities have been
Join the NLA
The NLA is the UK's leading association providing support for private residential landlords, serving over 40,000 members nationwide. New landlords join the NLA for advice, information and guidance and to keep up-to-date with fast changing laws and regulations.
Join today and receive instant access to a wide range of key landlord services, award-winning resources and exclusive supplier discounts.Become a member