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Managing your Outgoings during COVID-19

Fri 17 April 2020

The Coronavirus has impacted the majority of the population, with many worried about their health and finances. Whilst these are uncertain times for homeowners, landlords and tenants the Government and other businesses have offered some solutions.

There is also additional support available including help with utilities, mortgage holidays and income support.

Mortgages

Most lenders have agreed to offer payment holidays on mortgages, including Buy-to-Let. At the moment, this is for a period of up to three months for those that have been directly impacted by the Coronavirus outbreak. Homeowners are, however, expected to catch up on any payments and interest will still be accrued during the payment holiday.

If a tenant in your Buy-to-Let property is unable to make their rental payments in full, you should speak to your lender.

Rent

Tenants should continue to pay their rent in full and on time and comply with the terms of their tenancy. If, however you feel you are not able to do this, you should speak to your landlord or managing agent as soon as possible.

The Government is encouraging landlords and tenants to be reasonable during this period.

Help with your income 

  •  If you fall into financial difficulties due to a change in employment or earnings, you may qualify for Universal Credit. It can help if you are on a low income or are unemployed.
  • Those that are unable to work because they are self-isolating could get Statutory Sick Pay for every day in isolation.
  • If you are ill, are in poor health or have a disability that reduces your ability to work, you may qualify for Employment & Support Allowance (ESA). ESA is a fortnightly payment which may also be complimented by UC.
  • If you are self-employed you can apply for the Self Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS), which offers a taxable grant of up to 80% of your trading profits (monthly cap of £2,500). The scheme is currently available for 3 months but may be extended. You may also be able to delay your VAT payments.
  • Being ‘Furloughed’ under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme allows businesses to keep their employees and continue to pay them up to 80% of their wages (monthly cap of £2,500). 

Help with your bills

  • The Government has confirmed that there is a £500 million ‘Hardship Fund’ to provide council tax relief for vulnerable households.
  • Water UK has confirmed that water companies are able to help customers who have lost their jobs or have had their income reduced because of the Coronavirus.
  • Ofgem has also said that customers who are struggling to pay for their energy may be able to request payment breaks or reductions through their energy supplier. An agreement with the energy industry also confirms that help will be available to vulnerable people.
  • Loans and credit card payment holidays are available from most banks.
  • Some broadband and mobile phone companies have made changes to their packages to allow for an increase in use by their customers.

Communication is key

We are keen to work with any tenants in our managed properties who are worried about paying their rent. If you are experiencing financial difficulties, please do get in touch with your managing agent to discuss the options available.

Our clients can be assured that we will keep them informed should their tenants be worried about being able to make their rent payments. We can discuss how to manage this effectively for you and the options that may be available to help you during this time.  

There is guidance for landlords and tenants issued by Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-and-renting-guidance-for-landlords-tenants-and-local-authorities

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