Confusion has reigned during the government’s series of lockdowns – none more so than in the property rental sector. The Government has issued new legislation and guidance designed to help landlords support their tenants through this difficult time.
The law over how much time you must give a tenant before repossessing your property, for instance, changed from three months to six months for the first and second lockdowns respectively. Currently tenants cannot be evicted from a rented property until February 21 – although that may be subject to change too. Please note that this doesn’t apply to extreme cases though, such as tenants who are six months behind with rent and those who are deemed anti-social tenants.
In times of uncertainty, one of the best ways, as an HMO landlord, to protect yourselves and your tenants is to make sure that you have all the information you need and this is why we have summarised everything you need to know below.
Tenants with COVID-19 symptoms
If one or more of your HMO tenants report they believe they have coronavirus then urge them to get tested. If their test results are positive then they must self-isolate for 10 days. This means staying in their room as much as possible and using communal areas such as the kitchen and hallway when other tenants are not around. They can exercise in the garden (if you have one), provided there is no-one else there at the time. All meals should be taken alone in their bedroom.
If you believe your tenants might not stick to self-isolation regulations then you can remove furniture from communal areas and tape them off. You could also supply cleaning materials and PPE equipment, such as hand-sanitisers.
HMO landlords with furloughed tenants
Just as landlords were offered a three-month mortgage repayment holiday, many tenants received 80% of their wages through the government’s furlough scheme meaning that they may struggle with rental payments. According to a report by Shelter, 24% of tenants in the UK couldn’t pay all their rent. In which case, tenants were urged to contact their landlord to try and negotiate a form of deferred payment until they had resumed work.
Repairs and maintenance during COVID-19
Restrictions on entering other houses and remaining in your own ‘bubble’ during lockdown periods has led to many annual maintenance work, such as gas and boiler inspections, being delayed.
Provided tenants are okay with having workmen in the building, repairs and maintenance work can go ahead. However, social distancing measures must be in place and all workmen should wear PPE equipment. Ideally, no tenants should be around when the work is being carried out.
How we can help
At Sourced, we are here for you during these unprecedented times. We will provide expert, comprehensive training in becoming an HMO landlord and support you every step of the way on your HMO property venture! Our dedicated team will also ensure you stay up-to-date with the latest legislation surrounding COVID-19 and lockdown permissions.
If you would like to find out more about owning and managing an HMO, then why not get in touch with us today or download our Sourced Franchise prospectus? Our expert HMO sourcers, will give you all the information you need and help you build a successful HMO portfolio.