COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions For Tenants and Landlords:
Q1. Can a landlord evict a tenant during the COVID 19 outbreak?
A. If a tenant is having financial difficulty due to Covid-19 then no landlord is allowed to evict a tenant. We would ask landlords to be flexible with their tenant if they are finding it hard to pay the rent. If we are contacted by any of our tenants regarding financial hardship, we will guide them to the sources where they might be able to apply for financial support. We will be updating landlords on an individual basis if your tenant is affected.
The Scottish Government have issued the Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill asking for changes in the legislation to protect tenants from any eviction action for up to 6 months. We will receive further detail on this legislation if/when it becomes law and will provide further advice to you at that time
Q2. What should a tenant do if they are in financial difficulty and may not be able to pay their rent ?
A. We recommend that all tenants, where possible, should continue to pay their rent every month. If, however, you find that you are having financial difficulties or have concerns about being unable to pay your rent, we would ask that you contact us as soon as possible.
Any tenant affected by Covid-19 and having financial difficulties can contact the Department for Work and Pensions to apply for Universal Credit which includes support for housing costs, if eligible.
Q3. Should landlords stop charging rent during this time?
A. We recommend that all tenants continue to pay their rent every month as normal if they are able to do so as under the tenancy agreement, rent is still due.
Each tenant’s financial circumstances are different, and we do not expect all our tenant’s to be affected in terms of paying their rent. We will liaise with both our landlords and tenants who are affected by this to come to an agreement on the best way forward for both parties.
Q4. What can a landlord do about Mortgage Repayments?
A. If you have a mortgage on your rental property and your tenant is having financial difficulties, we would recommend that you can contact your mortgage lender to find out more information on the mortgage payment holidays.
Q5. Can tenants still move into properties?
A. Where possible, we have been advised that all moves should be delayed. However, we do not want anyone to become homeless and where necessary, we will let tenants sign a lease and move into a property. Following the Scottish Governments guidelines, this includes any tenancy that has already been accepted to avoid any prospective tenant becoming homeless as they cannot find alternative accommodation. Key workers are also permitted to move if they require accommodation.
If we are required to meet with any tenants to sign a lease, we will be making sure that the social distancing measures are in place and we will be limiting the amount of people who can come to the appointment. We will also be following the Governments advice on hygiene and cleanliness.
Q6. Is landlord and letting agent business still allowed if the health guidelines are followed?
A. With the government’s advice on all non-essential travel and social distancing, we will not be carrying out any routine property inspections and all routine maintenance will be on hold until a time it is safe to be carried out. We will still be dealing with all emergency repairs and if a contractor has to attend the property, the social distancing measures should take place. We will also be asking all tenants if they are self-isolating or shielding to ensure it is safe for the contractor to enter the property.
We have been advised that all routine certification (gas safety and electrical installation condition reports) be postponed during this time. As soon as the guidelines are relaxed, we will arrange for them to be carried out as soon as possible.
Q7. What happens with urgent repairs to properties?
A. It is very important that you contact us regarding any urgent repairs within your property. Our landlords still have a responsibility to ensure that their properties are safe and fit for their tenants live in. Contractors will only be instructed for repairs that are seen as urgent repairs and that it is safe for them to enter your property. Tenants will be asked if they are showing any symptoms of the coronavirus, if they or anyone who lives in the property are self-isolating or shielding to ensure the safety of both our tenants and contractors. Our contractors will also be asked to make sure that they use their own safety measures when visiting the property and adhering to the social distancing measures. If a contractor is to attend your property, it would be a good idea if everyone in the property stayed in one room away from where the contractor is working.
Here is a list of some of the issues that we deem as urgent but is not limited to:
• If the boiler is not working, leaving you without hot water or heating
• If you are having problems with your plumbing, where you are having problems washing or with toilet facilities
• If you have a problem with water leaking into the property e.g. from the roof, through a ceiling or through a window frame
• If a window is broken or an external door and is raising concerns over security issues
We would like to thank all of our Landlords and Tenants for their patience and understanding. We hope you and your family remain safe and well during this time.
If we can help you in anyway or provide advice in this unprecedented time, please call or email us on the details below. We would be delighted to hear from you.
Claire O’Brien, Property Manager, Kippen Campbell Property Services.
Telephone: 07484 062 329
Very helpful, very friendly, excellent legal advice!