Work Together with Your Tenants During This Pandemic

Whether you have tenants who have lived in your property for years or new tenants, it’s best to work with them in this time of the Coronavirus pandemic. Many people are experiencing a steep decline in the income or have lost it altogether. They may not have the money to pay all of their rent and working together to a solution is your best bet. Here are some questions and answers that can help:

  1. Are business and residential tenancies affected by the new COVID-19 measures?

Yes. In the case of business tenancies, landlords will be unable to forfeit a lease and commence possession proceedings if a tenant fails to pay rent (or other sums, including service charges and insurance rent) until 30 June 2020.

In the case of residential tenancies, landlords will be required to give at least three months’ notice for any notice seeking possession or notice to quit until 30 September 2020.

  1. Is a tenant therefore entitled to withhold rental payments in the next three months?

No – unless the terms of the lease allow the tenant to withhold payment of rent.

Tenants may request rent review/deferral talks with landlords to reduce the likelihood of rent disputes in the aftermath of the current pandemic. If so, landlords and tenants should ensure that any agreement is documented so as to be legally binding.

  1. As a landlord, do I have to waive rent during the COVID-19 outbreak?

No. Landlords are under no legal obligation to waive rent during these unprecedented times – in most circumstances, tenants will continue to pay rent in accordance with their lease. However, there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach, and landlords should engage in productive discussions with tenants to ensure rent is paid or that alternative arrangements are in place when rent falls due.

  1. What can I do if I am struggling to make my mortgage repayments because of COVID-19?

Some mortgage lenders have agreed to offer payment holidays of up to three months to residential homeowners and buy-to-let landlords. Speak to your lender for details.