A few quick things
The first three bullet points below have been borrowed from a newsletter put out by our colleagues in the Black Country Area Department of Work and Pensions. Although these aren’t really landlord issues – they might be helpful for your tenants.
• As the lock-down lifts, the government is keen to help people who’ve lost their jobs, back into work. Job Centres are promoting various activities and resources, especially through social media, particularly Twitter. As a 54 year-old dinosaur who misses rotary dial telephones and black and white telly – I’m not a Twitter enthusiast. However, the Black Country Job Centres Twitter account does look like a really good resource for anyone seeking work. https://twitter.com/jcpinthebc?lang=en. It has all kinds of events and information and is well worth a look.
• Extra resources are also being provided to different advice agencies that the public might turn to. The overall message going with this is that if you have a tenant or client in any sort of difficulty – particularly financial, due to COVID-19 – please encourage them to get the right help and support.
• Evictions and possessions: We blogged on this just over a week ago and how the government has extended the ban on evictions until the 24th of August. Two things to add. Firstly, the government announced yesterday via a response to a written parliamentary question, that there will be no more extensions and come the end of August – courts will start hearing possession hearings again. Second and it might be quite important; the government has also confirmed – through Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government that although the ban on serving notices will be lifted – the government also wants to add new elements into the legal/ courts process to give more protection to ‘vulnerable’ tenants. We don’t as yet have any specifics about what Mr Jenrick actually meant. But perhaps this should serve as a warning to landlords to be even more careful than usual about following all legal requirements which could affect the ending of a tenancy. Don’t forget – there are already all sorts of legal obstacles where if a landlord has got something wrong – a section 21 notice is automatically invalidated. See our post on this subject https://sandwelllandlords.wordpress.com/category/section-21/. The government guidance we have talked about more recently since the COVID-19 crisis started does expect landlords to be reasonable and understanding where tenants already have difficulties and although I can only speculate about Mr Jenrick’s precise intentions I would guess that any new rules he intends to introduce will add some weight to that expectation. We will obviously blog on this again once we have more detail.