As a result of the sudden and significant impact of the outbreak of Covid-19, the UK Government is looking to pass an emergency bill focussing on the protection of renters to cover the length of the outbreak. This bill proposal arrives shortly after the Government announced plans to provide a mortgage holiday for mortgage holders, in a bid to alleviate financial concerns in a period of economic stalemate and develop their Coronavirus response.
Emergency legislation is currently taking place with the view to suspend any new evictions from both social or privately rented accommodation, as well as preventing any new possession proceedings through court applications during this state of emergency. The current time period estimated is three months. By extension, landlords will also be protected due to the Government’s proposals to extend the three-month mortgage payment holiday to Buy to Let mortgages.
If you are currently accommodated either through social housing or in private accommodation, such as under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) agreement, under the proposed legislation your landlord will not have the power to evict you or bring possession proceedings against you for at least a three-month period.
A landlord may wish to bring proceedings should it become apparent the monthly rent will not be met, which would in ordinary circumstances classify as a breach of the agreed terms and enable your landlord to bring proceedings. The proposed emergency legislation tackles this by alleviating financial pressures landlords may face in trying to meet mortgage interest payments on their Buy to Let mortgages that are dependent on receiving full rent payments each month. The aim of this legislation is to encourage co-operation between landlords and tenants, which is also why the “pre-action protocol” on possession proceedings has been widened to include private renting. As such, landlords must reach out to tenants to better understand personal circumstances, before considering proceedings which, in any event, will be suspended during this crisis.