Payment holidays for landlords with buy-to-let mortgages have been announced today as part of a package of measures introduced by the government in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The payment holidays of up to three months will be offered on the understanding the benefit is to be passed to the tenant, who will then work with you to set up an affordable repayment plan after that. The move follows extensive lobbying on the issue from both the NLA and RLA.
The proposals also include plans to suspend the eviction process – with no new possession proceedings to start during the crisis. The government will bring emergency legislation forward, meaning you will be unable to start proceedings to evict tenants for a three-month period – whatever the reason.
With measures announced up to now focussing on homeowners at the expense of the PRS we at the RLA welcome the fact the government is looking at issues faced by landlords and tenants. However, we believe more support is needed.
We know responsible landlords will not be looking to evict tenants as a result of issues caused by coronavirus, however we believe you do need to retain flexibility to deal with issues such as anti-social tenants – and have told the government so.
We also want ministers to:
- Pause the final phase of restricting mortgage interest relief to the basic rate of income tax due in April
- Introduce national guidelines for local authorities to suspend routine inspections of properties
- Temporarily halt enforcement action where landlords can’t carry out non-essential works because of health risks posed to themselves, tenants or contractors
While we welcome the announcement of the payment holiday, we will continue to campaign on these issues.
These are worrying times for us all. We are facing an unprecedented situation, with circumstances and advice changing on a daily, if not hourly basis.
With this in mind we have put together a coronavirus guide for landlords which includes help and advice on running your lettings and protecting your tenants. We will be updating this as the details of today’s proposals become clear.
We are also receiving daily briefings direct from MHCLG on the ongoing situation and will keep you updated on news affecting you, your tenants and your business via our websites and social media channels @RLA_News and @nationalandlord
Both the RLA and NLA are operating as usual with a homeworking arrangement in place for staff. The helplines are open although, as I am sure you will appreciate, we are dealing with increased numbers of calls due to the current crisis.
These are challenging times and it is vital now, more than ever, that we pull together as an industry to support each other through them.