Like with most other industries, the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is having a dramatic impact on the rental market and will continue to do so for some time.

Many elements of property management have been affected including finding new tenants, tenants moving in and out, securing buy-to-let mortgages and carrying out maintenance work on your properties.

As the situation is constantly evolving it can be hard to know how to tackle these issues, so it is important to stay informed.

LIS Show – MPU

New legislation

Legislation has been introduced in an attempt to protect renters and landlords as both parties come under financial strain. The measures ensure landlords have to give 3 months’ notice if they intend to seek possession, suspend all ongoing housing possession action for at least 90 days, and give buy-to-let landlords a three month mortgage holiday.

Moving homes

In regard to moving homes, new government guidance states: “Given the situation in the UK with regard to the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), we urge parties involved in home moving to adapt and be flexible to alter their usual processes.

For those who have a move scheduled during the stay-at-home measures, the advice is: “Homebuyers and renters should, where possible, delay moving to a new house while measures are in place to fight coronavirus (COVID-19).” Along with worries over financial uncertainty, there is a practical element to these withdrawals, however, as most lenders are currently overwhelmed with requests for payment holidays and can’t arrange valuations.

Additionally, with the government’s stricter distancing guidelines, the viewing process is impeded. Agents are trying to plan around this as the introduction of video viewings online via Facetime and Skype. However, how successful this will be against the backdrop of buyer and mover caution is yet to be seen.

The UK rental market is inevitably going to face a slowdown, so it’s important for both tenants and landlords to work together to make sure the impact is minimal for both parties.

Can maintenance repairs be carried out?

In short, yes. The latest update from the government advises: “Work carried out in people’s homes, for example by tradespeople carrying out repairs and maintenance, can continue, provided that the tradesperson is well and has no symptoms.”

This is on the condition that social distancing guidelines are followed and that neither the occupants or contractors display any symptoms, no matter how mild.

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