Steps to take:-
- more than ever it is critical to keep an eye on your business. Normally we urge you to visit the property to inspect, but you will provably want to minimise that, but
- always check you are getting the rent(s) due, on time
- keep in contact with your tenants
- if they have stopped paying rent, ask them why. The answer ‘Coronavirus‘ on its own is not acceptable
- whatever the reason they give you for not paying, ensure you keep a log of conversations; reasons given to you; and most importantly what the tenant is doing to mitigate their circumstances.
- Remember the Government:-
- is to raise the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) to fully cover 30% of the rents in every area;
- Universal Credit will be raised by £1,000 a year
- The “standard allowance” – £323.22 a month for single people and £507.37 a month for couples – will be raised for the next 12 months.
- Working Tax Credit will be raised by the same amount.
- The government will also suspend the minimum income floor in Universal Credit “for everyone effected by the economic impact of coronavirus“.
This means a self-employed person with zero income will be able to claim Universal Credit at a similar rate to someone who is unemployed.
It will mean “every self employed person can access Universal Credit at rate equivalent to Statutory Sick Pay,” the Chancellor said.
The government will pay 80% of salary for staff who are kept on by their employer, covering wages of up to £2,500 a month
However, we are still waiting for an announcement on help for self-employed people.
So most tenants won’t suffer a total loss of income leading to them being unable to pay all their rents.
See here for the announcement.
Most of all, communicate; communicate; communicate.
Gas and Electrical Certificates
The Government have issued guidance for gas and electrical certificates, and general maintenance. Under the guidance to Local Authorities (LA’s) it states that ‘ If a landlord can show they have taken all reasonable steps to comply with their duty under the regulations, they are not in breach of the duty.
With regards to the Electrical Safety Regulations a landlord would not be in breach of the duty to comply with a remedial notice and with regards to the
Gas Safety Regulations a landlord would not be liable for an offence.’
More guidance can be seen here and here. Also see a system that allows you to log failed attempts to gain access to the property.
Note that if you need your vehicle for urgent repairs to your properties you will get a 6 month exemption on the MoT certificate from March 30th. If you MoT expires before that you will need to get it renewed as normal.
You will still need to apply for tax and insurance, but both of these can be done on-line.