Real estate advices

Coronavirus Act 2020 and landlords

Further to the implementation of the Coronavirus Bill (now the Coronavirus Act 2020), special measures have been brought in to assist tenants affected by coronavirus. So what does this mean for landlords and tenants, and how does it help protect everyone?

Below are some day-to-day scenarios for landlords and how the Coronavirus Act 2020 will affect them. Obviously this situation could change at any time, so it landlords must make sure that they are constantly up-to-date with legislation at this difficult and often confusing time.

Evicting a tenant or giving notice

If you’re a landlord, this means not expecting tenants to move even if you have already issued notice of your intention to regain possession of your property, or if you issue notice for any reason whatsoever during this period.

Under the Coronavirus Act 2020, until 30th September 2020, landlords will need to give their tenants three months’ notice if they intend to seek possession of Assured Shorthold Tenancies. The Government has also issued a Practice Direction to stop any possession claims from progressing. This suspension applies for a 90-day period from 27th March 2020, for any housing possessions proceedings in rented, leasehold and home ownership sectors.

Accessing a Property

  • Landlords’ repair obligations remain unchanged. Tenants have a right to a warm and safe place to live. Properties must still be kept in good repair and free from dangers.
  • Good management requires regular review and maintenance of a property, but planned inspections may be more problematic at this time. However, there is no reason for dangerous conditions to be allowed to persist.
  • Tenants should inform landlords early if they encounter any issues with the condition of their property. Video calling can be used to reduce the need for in-person inspections of property issues.
  • Where reasonable and safe for you, and in line with other Government guidance, efforts should be made by landlords to review and address issues that have been raised by tenants, and keep records of all interactions.
  • Inspectors or maintenance workers can still visit blocks of flats and multi-occupied properties for essential or urgent work, such as inspecting and testing fire alarms, lighting systems and heating.
  • Urgent health and safety issues are those which will affect your tenant’s ability to live safely and maintain good health in the property. This include (but not limited to):
    • If there is a problem with the building exterior, e.g the roof is leaking
    • If your boiler is broken, leaving a tenant without heating or hot water
    • If there is a plumbing issue, leaving a tenant without washing or toilet facilities
    • If the white goods such as fridge or washing machine have broken, meaning the tenant is unable to wash clothes or store food safely
    • If there is a major security issue, such as a broken window or external door
    • If equipment a disabled person relies on requires installation or repair 

What about gas and electrics and their upkeep?

  • Landlords must provide tenants with all necessary gas and electrical safety certification at the beginning of a tenancy (and carry out all scheduled inspections and tests where required).
  • Landlords should make every effort to abide by existing gas safety regulations and electrical safety regulations which come into force on 1 July. There are provisions in both regulations to account for situations in which a landlord cannot do this, and they must demonstrate they have taken all reasonable steps to comply with the law. If a landlord is unable to gain access to the property due to restrictions in place to tackle coronavirus, or is unable to get a contractor to carry out the necessary work, it’s recommended that all attempts to do so are documented, as well as any correspondence with the tenant.

What about conducting viewings or scheduling a move into a rental property?

  • The Government has advised against home moves wherever possible. See separate advice here
  • It is advised that landlords and tenants engage constructively about access to a property, and that it is only for urgent issues.
  • This means that ideally no one should visit the property to conduct viewings, although this is officially allowed now providing social distancing takes place.
  • If moving is unavoidable for contractual reasons and the parties are unable to reach an agreement to delay, people must follow advice on maintaining social distancing.
  • Anyone with coronavirus symptoms, who is self-isolating or shielding from the virus, should follow medical advice and avoid moving home unless absolutely necessary.
  • Where moves do need to go ahead, advice should be followed (see our blog for more advice)

What if my tenant can’t pay their rent right now?

You may be asking whether you should stop charging rent during this current time. The advice from the Government is as follows:

  • Landlords are not required to do this. Most tenants will be able to pay rent as normal and should continue to do so, and they will remain liable for the rent during this period.
  • Each tenant’s circumstance is differen, with some being worse affected in terms of their ability to pay than others. It is important for landlords to be flexible and have an open conversation with their tenants at the earliest opportunity.

It might become the case that tenants are unable to pay their rent, due to losing their job or becoming furloughed, so may ask for a ‘rent holiday’. Although there is no Government mandate for landlords to comply, you may feel obliged to help them out. If this is the case then a landlord could look into applying for a mortgage holiday for the property if needed.

If you have any questions of queries as a tenant or landlord in the current climate, and the implications of the Coronavirus Act 2020 and landlords then please do give us a call and we can advise.

Lewis photo

Lewis McKale

Director, Residential Sales, Lettings & New Homes

07507 656 668

020 8462 7155

bio separator

Lewis has over 20 years experience in the property industry. As a young negotiator he worked for large South East London Estate Agency and he also worked his way up to Associate Director at a City based Estate Agency by the time he was 25.

He jointly owned and sold a successful business in the East End of London before deciding to come back to his roots and set up Bromley Property Company in late 2016.

Lewis is a life long Bromley Borough resident and hails from West Wickham where he attended Wickham Common Primary School and then Hayes Secondary School.

He's married with three children, all of whom attend local schools. Both himself and his wife are very active with local autistic charities helping with various events.

Football plays a big part in his life, playing for Charlton Athletic youth team in his early days and he is an avid supporter of Bromley FC.

The competitive drive that pushes him on is what helps fuel his passion for the business. This and his in-depth knowledge of the borough is a great combination which helps deliver the results his clients have come to expect.

Kyle photo

Kyle Peters

Director, Land & Commercial

020 8462 7155

07801 577 782

bio separator

In a career spanning more than 20 years Kyle has bought, sold and let Real Estate of all types and sizes in every sector of property industry. Throughout this time he was a long serving founder member of one of the South East’s most successful Commercial & Development property agencies. In addition to a successful agency career he has held senior client-side positions in asset & property management and investment and development acquisitions affording Kyle a holistic viewpoint and greater understanding of the entire process than some agents.

Technically knowledgeable and with a keen eye for detail he has a deep understanding of how to effectively market a property and revels in getting amongst the strategy of a transaction to ensure his clients expectations are regularly exceeded.

With a natural flair for identifying development opportunities and adding value Kyle works regularly with a number of clients on acquisitions and development & planning consultancy and has specialisms in the retirement, care and affordable housing sectors.

Born and raised in the Bromley area, outside of work Kyle enjoys spending as much time as possible with his young family, travelling and all things car related.

Stuart photo

Stuart Jackson

Sales & Lettings

020 8462 7155

bio separator

Stuart has worked in the property industry for 10 years now.

Previously working in the East End of London specialising in Shoreditch and The City but deciding to come back to his roots and work in Bromley, Stuart brings his enthusiasm, knowledge and hard work to the company and local Bromley residents will all benefit from this.

Stuart is also a local lad that grew up in Keston, attending Keston Primary School and Hayes Secondary School so his local knowledge is second to none. Currently living in Shortlands Stuart prides himself on his excellent customer service levels and is always available to talk about property and will accommodate viewings whenever he can 7 days a week.

Stuart works very close with Lewis in ensuring that Bromley Property Company offer a customer service unlike any other local estate agent making sure all of our clients be it Vendors, Landlords, Buyers or Tenants are all looked after and dealt with in the best way possible.

Angela photo

Angela McKale

Admin & Marketing

020 8462 7155

bio separator

Angela has worked supporting Lewis and his team for the last 5 years now and has taken the admin side of the business over and helps to ensure that our clients are given a service that is as efficient as possible.

She is responsible for that majority of the companies marketing and she also looks after the properties on our website as well as ensuring our clients are written to promptly.

Helping to run diaries for the team and ensuring everyone is kept on their toes is a real help and she helps keep things organised and ensures the business runs as efficiently as possible.

Trevor photo

Trevor Doran

Head of Property Management

07740 055 025

bio separator

Trevor has over 30 years’ experience in maintaining and managing properties.
20 years in the home improvement industry rising to director level served him well as a landlord and since 2009 owning and running his own business specialising purely in property letting and management.
A lifelong Bromley borough resident Trevor runs Bromley Property Company’s letting and management department and continues to operate at the highest possible levels of professionalism and service as the portfolio grows.
Sport and fitness play a big part in Trevor’s life as he tries to keep up with two athletic children currently in sixth form and university. He also follows the fortunes of the ever-improving Bromley FC.

Amy photo

bio separator

Amy has worked in Lettings and property management for 10 years starting as a Lettings Negotiator for a corporate Estate Agents in Dartford.

She then worked for an independent Estate Agent in Bexley as a Property Manager and then as Branch Manager for 3 years.

She took some time out when she had her daughter and started working again in Property Management 3 years ago.

Amy has a BA (Hons) Degree in Fashion and enjoys making clothes and she is also classically trained to Grade 6 in Piano.

Becky photo

Becky Freeman

Digital Marketing & Social Media

020 8462 7155

bio separator

Becky brings with her nearly a decade of digital marketing and multi-award nominated lifestyle blogging experience, and has worked with both household names and smaller companies to create content and enhance their social and online presence. She has appeared in various Interiors & lifestyle magazines, written for publications including The Guardian, and appeared on Channel 4’s ‘Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas’ winning her category of Christmas table styling!

After a disappointing experience trying to sell her house with a local high street agent, West Wickham-based Becky had heard great things about Bromley Property Company, swapped to us and quickly sold, and says she couldn't rate Lewis and his team's knowledge of the area and honest valuation highly enough.

As a bit of a property geek with a background in both business and lifestyle marketing, Becky is now on board to oversee all things digital for us through her agency Becky Freeman Digital.

Living and raising 3 children in the local area, Becky loves Bromley and all it has to offer a young family.

Mary photo

Mary Radovanovich

MAAT, MICB PM.Dip., Accounts

020 8462 7155

bio separator

Mary has been in the accounting industry for over 23 years and has a license with the AAT and ICB. Mary prides herself on excellent customer service and strongly believes in building a close working relationship with her clients.

Mary deals with the invoice payments and tax for the group as well as assisting with all aspects of accounting.