We’ve all experienced a massive upheaval due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a huge range of different personal changes as a result of the virus ranging from having to shift entirely for tenants to remote working through to uncertainty about making money and paying rent.
It’s that latter concern that is taking prominence right now as both landlords and tenants grapple with what the negative effects of the crisis will have on rental properties.
How COVID-19 has changed the property market for tenants
The experts at LDN Properties, a professional home buyer, say the first important fact to consider about the uncertainty caused by COVID-19 is that it has created upheaval for many people both personally and professionally.
Perhaps the biggest impact that the virus has had on tenants’ priority is how it’s affected their ability to meet the monthly rental payments. If you’re a landlord who has a property that you’re leasing out to someone then you need to know for your own financial security that your tenants will make the monthly rent payments, particularly because many landlords often rely on these payments to cover their mortgages on the rental properties that they own. And if you’re a tenant you want to be able to make your monthly rent payments, because if you fall behind you can accrue late fees and ultimately even run the risk of eviction from the house. There has been numerous government initiatives put in place to protect the tenant during this difficult times and it is best to keep abreast of the UK Government website for full details of these plans
Another priority for tenants at the moment is guarding against infection. Both tenants and landlords alike should be taking every possible precaution to protect against spread of the disease, and to sanitise frequently to reduce the risk of it spreading at the property.
Landlords and tenants alike also need to devise a plan for viewing vacant houses or flats. The goal should be to minimise interactions as much as possible, but that can be tricky if you’re a tenant trying to find a place to rent. Some landlords have started offering virtual tours of properties, streaming video for prospective tenants. This helps avoid the need for someone to physically be in the property yet still get a sense of whether they’d like to rent it.
COVID-19 is affecting business and personal tenants alike
You might have seen a story on television or in your local newspaper about the negative financial impacts of the coronavirus and what that means for tenants. But one crucial thing to consider is that the virus doesn’t discriminate – it’s having an equally negative impact on business tenants as well as residential tenants and their ability to pay.
Some big companies are struggling to pay their rents and trying to reduce the monthly rent payments during the pandemic. It’s a strategy that many companies are pursuing if their physical space is in a rented building. Restaurants, shops, and more all find themselves with reduced revenue thanks to the virus and social distancing, and in turn this can make it very hard for these businesses to meet their rent payments.
Similarly, many people have lost their jobs because of COVID-19 or are struggling with a large cut in their working hours which leads to reduced overall wages. With less money, residential tenants might struggle to be able to meet their monthly rental payments.
Whether tenants are businesses or residential, appropriate financial planning is important
Although the situation around the pandemic can seem like it’s ever-changing, with lockdowns starting and stopping and then resuming again, that doesn’t mean you can’t plan ahead. Whether you are a tenant or a landlord it can be very helpful to do some advance organising so that you know rent payments will be made or can arrange some flexibility on payment.
If you’re a tenant, it can be very stressful to know you won’t be able to meet your monthly rental payment. You might start to worry about the threat of eviction and the further problems that could cause. If you’re experiencing financial difficulties as a result of the coronavirus, reach out to your landlord as soon as possible and see if you can defer a payment, negotiate a payment plan with reduced rates, or find some other agreement whilst the pandemic continues.
If you’re a landlord, and you have good tenants who have previously made all their payments on time and keep the home in a good condition, you should consider offering them flexibility if they are struggling with their finances because of COVID-19. Look at your outgoing expenses and see if there are options for either delaying or reducing the rental charges, at least during the pandemic or until the tenants’ financial situation possibly improves in the future.
Tenants and landlords should work together not against each other
Perhaps the most important takeaway is that the pandemic is having negative effects on all of us. That’s why the best approach for both tenants and landlords alike is to realise that this is an incredibly unusual and stressful time for many people, and to work together rather than against each other to find the best possible outcome for everyone particularly since the COVID-19 issue isn’t likely to be resolved quickly.