We all, of course, continue to face many day to day challenges from the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis and the extended “lockdown”. It is clear there is not going to be a quick resolution of the crisis and the Scottish Association of Landlords will continue to lobby politicians and policymakers using landlords and letting agents’ experiences to ensure our voices are heard.
The next “major” news we expect over the next week to ten days is full details and the application process for the landlord interest-free loan scheme.
There seems to be an expectation that where their financial circumstances allow, landlords will be more flexible than they might normally be in response to rent arrears caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Landlords who find themselves in financial difficulty as a result of tenants not paying rent at this time may wish to apply for deferred mortgage payments or a so-called mortgage “holiday”.
We have had landlords in contact with tenants and vice versa regarding the rent during this time. Ideally it would come through Glasgow Property Letting, but I know that it is human nature and unusual events are happening.
I will advise that agreements to vary the rent payable can be documented by a simple exchange of emails. If you are in dialogue with the tenant, ensure that it is clear what you are offering, whether this be an agreement to permanently “write off” some of the rent due or an agreement that the rent is due as normal but can be repaid over a longer period. Make sure the period covered by the agreement and the amounts involved are clearly defined. Please to copy in firstname.lastname@example.org on the email. Although the management fee will remain the same on the rent received, it is good practice to have a reference.
Please avoid making reference to a “rent reduction” as otherwise it could be argued that you need to serve a rent increase notice to revert to the previous rent. Instead you can agree to the tenants only paying a specified amount or percentage of the rent due for a defined period.
Following a four year freeze, Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates increased on 1 April 2020. A table showing the new rates can be found here.
The LHA rate determines the amount that tenants in receipt of benefit can receive towards their housing costs. This could help if the tenant has approached you directly to work out some figures.
Understandably universal credit payments have been delayed for tenants due to the number of people applying.
We have had a few emails regarding repairs, the Construction Industry Coronavirus (CICV) Forum has issued an engaging new animation that offers clear and practical advice to contractors and occupiers undertaking emergency domestic work.
Entitled In This Together, the film is now being rolled out in the wake of the recent Scottish Government instruction for all non-essential work to cease, in order to provide parameters for essential emergencies which may arise.
View film here.
We are very much in the mind set that business has not been paused, but pivoted to allow the new situation to work as it seems this could be going on for some time.
We had updated the website to allow for video walk through viewings and have new tenancies starting this week and next. Moving home is one of the reasons that someone can leave lockdown
- Move ins
- Emergency maintenance work e.g. heating/hot water repairs, water leaks
- Safety checks to obtain a landlord gas safety certificate
- Move outs to check the property is safe and secure – these should be done without the tenant being present and to reduce the risk of virus spread from surfaces we recommend doing them 72 hours after the tenant has moved out
Colin, Sarah and I are busy working behind the scene, preparing for what will become a “new normal”, whatever that may be as well as all the duties that we usually carry out. I have been refreshing my shills on web page code to accommodate the changes that are happening while Sarah has been enhancing her multi media skills as well as contacting the prospective tenants, sending out the video walk throughs while Colin is still dealing with the day to day things and where possible and appropriate taking the videos.
I am planning to do a overview of the changes that have happening since covid -19 in an email next week including the changed to leases, government guidance, but if there is anything that you specifically would like to know about in more details, something you have heard in the media, and would like clarification on, chances are another landlord is thinking the same thing, so it would be good to know and I can tailor the next email accordingly. Obviously I mean property related, I wish I had all the answers, would make the questions my son asks while home learning a lot easier! Todays lesson plan is inspired by Shakespeare in light of it being Shakespeare’s birth/death day and quote aptly from Henry VI “He hath eaten me out of house and home.” I am not complaining, that is the sign of a growing boy!
Tae care and hope you have a lovely weekend,
17 Elmbank Street
0141 221 3990
Registration number LARN1903009
VAT : 174415411