UK Government updates COVID-19 and renting guidance

As the UK transitions into the fourth step of the COVID-19 roadmap, the UK Government has updated its guidance for landlords, tenants, and local authorities.

The latest update from the UK Government, coinciding with Propertymark’s own guidance for members, provides new details on:

  • ventilation and carrying out repairs and maintenance work
  • clinically extremely vulnerable people and repairs and maintenance work
  • reducing the risk of infection in shared accommodation, accommodation with shared facilities and overcrowded accommodation

Covid-19 special allowances

The new guidance also encourages all parties to show flexibility in relation to rent payments and rent payment plans. Additionally, where disputes over rent or other matters persist, landlords and tenants are also encouraged to pursue mediation.

As part of the measures implemented following the stay on evictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government is also funding a mediation pilot integrated into the court process, which has been free for landlords and tenants to use since February 2021.

Whilst England has now moved to post-lockdown arrangements, it remains important to provide reassurance to clients and staff alike, identifying and understanding how to continue to reduce the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19.

The Propertymark guidance released ahead of restriction changes is aligned with the updated UK Government announcements and we will continue to work with the Ministry of Housing and our members to provide clear and timely communications.

Timothy Douglas Policy and Campaigns Manager | Propertymark

Possession action process

Currently, in cases where mediation has been unsuccessful landlords must provide tenants with a notice period of at least four months in most circumstances, including in cases where there are less than 4 months of unpaid rent. There are exemptions for the most serious cases including anti-social behaviour, no Right to Rent and fraud.  

Notice periods for cases where there are less than four months of unpaid rent, will reduce to a notice period of two months from 1 August 2021.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough) is in place until the end of September 2021, where employees will continue to receive 80 per cent of wages for hours not worked.

Where a landlord is concerned about their financial situation, they should discuss this directly with their lender.

View the government guidance