The Government has announced that residential buy-to-let (BTL) landlords are entitled to the same three-month mortgage repayment holiday as residential homeowners if they have tenants struggling to pay rent due to Coronavirus (Covid-19).
This announcement has been made in an effort to ease the financial pressure on landlords and tenants during the Covid-19 outbreak. To further protect tenants, the Government has also stated that landlords will not be able to start proceedings to evict tenants for at least a three-month period. Landlords and tenants are also being urged at the end of the period to work together to establish an affordable repayment plan, which takes into account the tenants’ individual circumstances.
Commenting on the announcement, housing secretary Robert Jenrick MP, said: “The Government is clear – no renter who has lost income due to coronavirus will be forced out of their home, nor will any landlord face unmanageable debts.
"These are extraordinary times and renters and landlords alike are of course worried about paying their rent and mortgage. Which is why we are urgently introducing emergency legislation to protect tenants in social and private accommodation from an eviction process being started.
“These changes will protect all renters and private landlords ensuring everyone gets the support they need at this very difficult time.”
Ben Beadle, chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, added: “Landlord groups welcomes Government support. We recognise the exceptional circumstances and we will work collaboratively with Government to ensure these measures protect both landlords and tenants.”
Some banks and building societies have already extended the three-month mortgage repayment holidays to BTL landlords. For example, Nationwide has announced that it has extended the repayment holiday to landlords to help protect both landlords and tenants from the financial impact of Covid-19. Henry Jordan, director of mortgages at Nationwide, said: “As the UK’s second-largest buy-to-let mortgage provider we feel it is important to extend protection to landlords and their tenants during this uncertain period. We have extended mortgage payment holidays to include rental properties so that landlords with tenants who are unable to meet rental payments because of Coronavirus are protected as much as possible. These payment breaks will be able to be arranged via The Mortgage Works – Nationwide’s buy-to-let arm. We would encourage tenants to speak to their landlords if they are impacted or worried about coronavirus to ensure that steps can be taken to support them at this time.”
In addition to this, the Financial Conduct Authority revealed that the Government’s measures also include a three-month suspension on residential and BTL possession action from today to help provide borrowers with reassurance that they will not have their homes repossessed.
Commenting on the Government’s measures, Stephen Jones, CEO at UK Finance, said: “Monthly mortgage payments tend to be the largest outgoing for the vast majority of households and lenders want to reassure both homeowners and landlords who have tenants who may be affected financially that the industry is working hard to put measures in place to support them during these uncertain times.
“In addition to the industry’s support for residential homeowners, mortgage lenders are extending the same support to buy-to-let landlords who have tenants experiencing issues with their finances as a result of COVID-19 and the options include a payment holiday of up to three months.
“For those customers already experiencing financial difficulty, lenders have also agreed a three-month moratorium on residential and buy-to-let possession action. The industry wants to reassure customers that they will not have their homes repossessed at this difficult time and therefore, these measures will start from today.
“All customers who are concerned about their current financial situation should get in touch with their lender at the earliest possible opportunity to discuss if this is a suitable option for them.”
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