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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

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.

Property access

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:

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

Camden

Durham

Liverpool

Luton

Newcastle

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