Since lockdown measures were put in place we’ve had a lot of enquiries about mortgages, rental properties, and conveyancing issues. And while the situation is obviously continuously evolving, our property team has put together some general advice for anyone concerned about the effect of Coronavirus on the following property issues.
If you are struggling to pay your mortgage due to loss of work or income, the Government has made agreements with mortgage providers to offer a three month mortgage holiday to those in need of support. This offer should also be valid for residential and buy-to-let mortgages, but may be subject to restrictions and eligibility factors, so in all cases it’s best to check with your lender for more details. It’s also worth making sure to check whether a payment holiday will affect your credit score.
Rent & Tenancy Agreements
If you are struggling to pay your rent, contact your landlord as soon as possible to explain the situation. They may be able to apply for a temporary mortgage holiday and pass these savings on to you, or you may be able to come to an agreement about reduced rates. Obviously, this depends greatly on your relationship with your landlord, but be aware that the Government will not be accepting eviction applications from landlords for three months.
If you are a landlord whose tenants are unable to pay their rent, try to talk things over with your tenants and come to a reasonable, affordable solution until circumstances are more stable. If you have a mortgage, follow the guidelines above and speak to your lender to see if a payment holiday is possible to give both you and your tenants some breathing room.
As we already covered in our previous blog on the subject, most house moves have been put on hold as part of the lockdown guidelines, but updated Government guidelines state that people who wish to go ahead with moving are now able to do so, as long as suitable safety precautions are taken. The official advice emphasises that people should still try to do as much of the process online as possible, for example using virtual initial viewings instead of visiting properties. If you are viewing a property in person, it should be cleaned thoroughly before and after, and vacated by the owners while you look around. In all cases, you must take extra measure to move safely and with the minimum of contact with people outside your household.
Buying and/or Selling Property
Similarly, the purchase and sale of property is likely to be moving at a much slower place, or subject to postponements, but there are several ways you can expedite the process and prepare for a smooth transition. For example: making sure your conveyancing paperwork is all in order, researching prospective properties, or making minor cosmetic improvements to property you intend to sell.
In all cases, communication is key. We are all in the same uncertain circumstances, so try to use common sense and empathy when it comes to re-negotiating payments, conveyancing processes or moving schedules. Work together as much as possible, and come out the other side safely and with a practical plan for moving forward.
As always, every situation is unique, and the best thing to do is speak to a solicitor for personalised advice and guidance for your circumstances. While our offices may be closed at the moment, we are still working remotely and can offer phone, email and video consultations with our friendly property team. For more information on any of these issues, or any other property and conveyancing matter, please get in touch at www.franceslindsay.co.uk.