23 Mar New legislation to protect tenants and landlords in the wake of coronavirus
New legislation was announced this week to protect private and social renters affected by coronavirus from eviction.
This emergency legislation is a result of the escalating economic situation and will ensure landlords can’t start eviction proceedings against tenants who struggle to pay rent for three months.
Robert Jenrick MP, Housing Secretary, 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.”
Landlords will be supported
The three-month mortgage holiday promised to homeowners affected by the virus will be extended to buy-to-let mortgage borrowers.
The government has said that it recognises the additional pressures the virus will place on landlords. They’ve confirmed that the three-month mortgage payment holiday will be offered to landlords whose tenants are experiencing financial difficulties due to coronavirus.
They hope the move will alleviate pressure on landlords concerned about meeting mortgage payments. And as a result, will mean no unnecessary stress is put on tenants.
The government expects landlords and tenants to work together at the end of this period to establish an affordable repayment plan, taking into account a tenant’s individual circumstances.
Matt Hutchinson, SpareRoom director, said: “We know that the situation is complex. Many landlords are reliant on their income to survive, so simply enforcing a rent holiday could just shift the problem rather than resolve it. But where landlords have buy-to-let mortgages, banks should be able to offer them the same deal as homeowners, to pass on to their tenants. We’re in this for the long haul it seems, and our housing market was already overloaded with unaffordability before we went into this, so government should do everything it can to support people with the most basic need of having a home.”
Housing associations welcome the move
Kate Henderson of the National Housing Federation has said that housing associations will not evict tenants who are affected by the virus and fall behind on rent payments.
The National Housing Federation and Local Government Association welcomed the government’s support for social renters and made it clear that no one should be evicted because of the coronavirus.
The government is expected to issue guidance, requesting that landlords show compassion and to allow affected tenants to remain in their homes wherever possible.
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.”