As part of their ongoing response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Government has now brought the Coronavirus Act 2020 into force. This Act implements a number of temporary changes to the way the private rented sector operates.
The package of reforms to help renters announced are –
- extending notice periods for repossession for the duration of the emergency.
- suspending all ongoing possession cases for 90 days from March 27th 2020.
- widening the pre-action protocol for social landlords to include private rented sector landlords. This has not yet come into force.
- ensuring that buy-to-let lenders will offer a mortgage holiday of up to three months for private landlords whose tenants have been impacted by the coronavirus. This is on the understanding that landlords will be expected to offer a similar rent holiday to their tenants.
As of 23rd March 2020, the Government is now requiring everyone stay indoors in almost all circumstances, as well as restricting assemblies of more than two people at a time.
Advice to landlords:
The Government advice around coronavirus is continuing to develop and extend into more areas of the private rented sector.
They have now published some general guidance for landlords as well as specific information on obligations such as right to rent. Right to rent checks have been temporarily adjusted due to coronavirus (COVID-19), to make it easier for landlords to carry them out.
As of 30 March 2020 the following temporary changes have been made:
- checks can now be carried out over video calls
- tenants can send scanned documents or a photo of documents for checks using email or a mobile app, rather than sending originals
- landlords should use the Landlord’s Checking Service if a prospective or existing tenant cannot provide any of the existing documents