Letting a property as a landlord

Q: What is the current situation with letting new properties?

A: We have applicants registered that are looking to move home and will continue to follow government guidelines and advice. We are able to conduct viewings where virtual viewings are not possible. Strictly by appointment only.

Q: I can’t arrange maintenance of my property, and some of the warranties are at risk of running out. What should I do?

A: If you are a fully managed landlord, supported by us, please make contact in the usual way.

For information, some warranties (which may have a time restriction) could be unaffected and we could contact your warranty provider to gain confirmation of this in writing. We can then reschedule a contractor or update the warranty provider once the current restrictions are lifted.

We are able to provide tenants with government guidance on the standard of cleaning that should be carried out at the property, should they be concerned that they have been affected by the virus. If you manage a property yourself, we suggest you follow the points above and refer to the official government guidance at all times.

Q: I am worried that my tenants will not be able to pay their rent soon. What should I do?

A: Measures to protect tenants from eviction have been announced in England, Scotland and Wales.

On 18 March 2020 the UK Government confirmed, in relation to England:

  • Emergency legislation to suspend new evictions from social or private rented accommodation while this national emergency is taking place
  • No new possession proceedings through applications to the court to start during the crisis
  • Landlords will also be protected as 3 month mortgage payment holiday is extended to Buy to Let mortgages

At the end of this period, landlords and tenants will be expected to work together to establish an affordable repayment plan, taking into account tenants’ individual circumstances.

On 18 March 2020 the Scottish Government published the following policy changes:

In the private sector, landlords will need to be equally supportive at during this public health crisis. We need to get the balance right between protecting tenants and ensuring landlords can continue to provide housing. To support this, we will address, through legislation, a temporary change in the current Private Housing (Tenancies) Act. Currently landlords can move to eviction if a tenant is in arrears for at least three months in a row and if at least one month rent is unpaid. At present, first tier Housing Tribunals will not uphold this if the reason for non-payment of rent is a delay or failure in the payment to tenants of welfare benefits such as housing benefit or universal credit. This is a crucial part of our current legislative protection. But this temporary change we will make goes further and will increase that rent arrears period from the current three months to six months.

The Housing and Property Chamber announced that all hearings and case management discussions will be postponed from 19 March 2020, this means that there will be no new eviction orders granted for private rented tenancies until 28 May 2020 at the earliest.

In addition, the Welsh Government has confirmed that eviction proceedings will be suspended. We anticipate that otherwise Welsh policy will be the same as that of England.

Q: I could lose money if a tenant (who has already given notice) self isolates and I can’t arrange viewings for a new tenant. What are you going to do about this? Can I claim money back from the deposit?

A: It is anticipated that any tenant who self-isolates will continue to pay rent for the duration of their stay and therefore rent should continue to be paid.

Tenants are being instructed to advise us as soon as their self-isolation has ended and we can then, ensure that the tenant has cleaned the property to the required standard and, begin marketing the property. We will endeavour to begin this as soon as is possible to limit any financial impact on you.

Whether landlords can offset costs such as this against the security deposit will depend on the terms of the tenancy agreement in place.

Q: Do we have to disclose that a previous tenant had Coronavirus?

A: No. Where a previous tenant had the illness, the focus should be on ensuring that the property has been cleaned in accordance with government guidance. We will be encouraging potential applicants to apply their common sense and accept that there is very little risk provided that the property has been cleaned to the standard set out in government guidance.

Q: What are your recommendations in relation to the deep cleaning of a rental property following a tenant’s self-isolation?

A: The Government has issued guidance on cleaning in non-healthcare settings. Landlords may wish to supplement the cleaning, but this would be at their own cost.

 

 

Renting a property

Q: I am just about to rent a property through you but the oddice has closed due to Coronavirus. How do I manage to get into the property? 

A: Whilst the office is temporarily closed, we are still continuing to support our customers remotely. Please contact us at info@letcohomes.co.uk  or our contact details are also on www.letcohomes.co.uk. Please note that it may take us longer to respond than would otherwise be the case.

Q: The changes announced by the Government mean I have to stay in my rental property and so I need to cancel any non-essential maintenance visits. How do I do this?

A: Tenants are encouraged to make contact with us in the usual way info@letcohomes.co.uk or pms@letcohomes.co.uk  alternatively direct to your landlord. Repair or maintenance activity will be re-scheduled for a time after the expiry of the current restrictions.

If you have been affected by the coronavirus, and when you are feeling better, you should clean the property following the government guidance on cleaning in non-healthcare settings.  

Q:  If, as a tenant, I have a serious property maintenance issue, how will you manage this if your branch is shut or your contractors are self-isolating?

A: We are working remotely, and will deal with each maintenance emergency. Contact us through pms@letcohomes.co.uk. Please note that it may take us longer to respond than would otherwise be the case.

We have a comprehensive panel of contractors to support us with maintenance issues although there are currently restrictions in place.

For landlords who attend to their own repairs and maintenance issues, we recommend that they review the following government publications

Q: In line with the Government advice, I am remaining at home. I would like to view a property is there a way I can do this remotely?

A: It might be possible for us to arrange a video stream or virtual viewing, subject to landlord consent. Please contact us directly at info@letcohomes.co.uk and we will try to help. Please note that it may take us longer to respond than would otherwise be the case.

Q: I am a current tenant(s) and my/our tenancy is coming to an end. Do I have the option to refuse visits from prospective tenants?

A: In line with the Government guidance we will be arranging viewings and will be in touch to discuss how we do these.

Q: I am due to vacate my rental property in the next few days and in light of the Government announcement what should I do now?

A: It is important that you make contact with us in the usual way although we are aware that check-out will be delayed and we can advise others who may be affected by this delay such as the next tenant. Please note that it may take us longer to respond than would otherwise be the case.

We will then arrange a revised check-out date with you and will be able to advise what further rent is applicable to the extended rental period.

If you have been affected by the coronavirus, you should clean the property following the government guidance on cleaning in non-healthcare settings. If you don’t, you risk the cost of cleaning being deducted from your security deposit.  

Q: What do I do if I am worried, because of the coronavirus that I will lose my job and won’t be able to afford my rent, and could be evicted? 

A: If you have any concerns about your current tenancy, we recommend you contact us at info@letcohomes.co.uk. Please note that it may take us longer to respond than would otherwise be the case.

Measures to protect tenants from eviction have been announced in England, Scotland and Wales.

On 18 March 2020 the UK Government confirmed, in relation to England:

  • Emergency legislation to suspend new evictions from social or private rented accommodation while this national emergency is taking place.
  • No new possession proceedings through applications to the court to start during the crisis.
  • Landlords will also be protected as 3 month mortgage payment holiday is extended to Buy to Let mortgages.

At the end of this period, landlords and tenants will be expected to work together to establish an affordable repayment plan, taking into account tenants’ individual circumstances.

General

Q: The office has closed, will I be able to contact you?

A:  Yes. In line with recent government guidelines we wish to confirm the LetCo office has closed. Please be assured, however, that we are still available to help you remotely and can be contacted via the normal office email address. Please note that it may take us longer to respond than would otherwise be the case.

Q: Are you able to maintain all your security and data protection standards during this period?

A:  Data security and protection remains a key priority for our business and, as such, measures have been put in place to ensure high standards can continue to be met.   All relevant teams and security systems are unaffected by the current situation and continue to operate normally.

Any concerns should be sent to our dedicated ‘Privacy Team’ via dataprotection@lslps.co.uk