Coronavirus – Emergency Housing Legislation

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Following the Housing Secretary’s announcement last week that new emergency legislation is to be passed in light of the Coronavirus pandemic to protect private tenants from eviction, the Government’s proposals are certainly not as straight forward as they may seem at first glance and may need some fine tuning.

The measures are designed to:

  1. Suspend new evictions from social or private rented accommodation while this national emergency is taking place;
  2. Prevent any new possession proceedings through applications to the courts from starting during the crisis; and
  3. Enable landlords to benefit from the same 3 month mortgage payment holidays on buy to let mortgages as that which has been offered to residential borrowers.

The proposals appears to protect both landlords and tenants however there is uncertainty as to how the unpaid rent is to be treated. In cases where the tenants have lost work and are unable to pay their rent, the result could simply be one of delaying the inevitable. Robert Jenrick’s proposals seem to suggest that the Landlord and Tenant will ultimately be encouraged to negotiate and agree repayment arrangements later down the line which, if the disrupting effects of the Coronavirsus continues, could result in insurmountable debt owed by the tenant.

From the other perspective, if landlords are unable to commence eviction proceedings during the crisis, where would they stand in respect of nuisance tenants or other non-rent related disputes?

If you are concerned about where you stand legally as a private tenant or as a landlord of either residential or even commercial property, please do not hesitate to contact our experienced property and litigation lawyers.

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