Tag Archives: landlords

Peterborough Landlords – Stay Up To Date With Legislation

At Just Lets, we know staying up to date with legislation in the letting industry is a tough job. It is almost a full-time role! We are keen to assist as many Peterborough landlords as we can, and if you need assistance in dealing with regulatory matters, we are always happy to help.

Why not contact us for a chat, and we can discuss our property management service options which means you don’t have to worry about these matters?

Key changes for tenant notice periods – rent arrears

It is vital landlords stay up to date with regulatory changes and as of 1st August 2021, the notice period which must be given for a Section 8 Notice for rent arrears has changed.

Until this time, the notice period stood at six months, but now, only two months’ notice must be given, when a tenant has rent arrears of at least four months. This new notice period is applicable when applying on Grounds 8,10 and 11.

Currently, the notice period when serving a Section 21 notice stands at four months. This has been the case since 1st June 2021.

Further changes from the end of September

At the end of September 2021, amended notice periods will revert back to their pre-pandemic state. If anything changes and amendments are implemented by the Government, we will keep you informed, but for now, landlords should plan for these matters reverting back to the way they were at the beginning of 2020.

Major name in property market calling for changes

Propertymark is calling for a dedicated housing court to be set up in England and Wales. The reasons for this claim are:

  • Landlord possession actions have been consistently falling since 2014
  • However, the time taken to move from claim to repossession is on the rise
  • The median time to move from claim to repossession reached 21.1 weeks by March 2020

Propertymark believes there is an inefficiency in the process, as well as a “a fundamental lack of faith in the present court system.” The organisation has provided evidence which suggests landlords are five times more likely to use a Section 21 notice than a Section 8 notice. This is even the case when it comes to matters of rent arrears or when anti-social behaviour occurs.

This is because landlords believe the Section 21 notice provides a faster route to possession. For anyone looking to minimise the overall costs of the process, time is of the essence, and something that landlords focus on.

Propertymark also state that if Section 21 notices are abolished, the heightened pressure on the court system would have a catastrophic outcome.

Timothy Douglas, Propertymark’s policy and campaigns manager, says: “The current backlog of cases shows we desperately need to see a change in the way private rental sector issues are handled. Our members are seeing a lack of private rented supply and failure to reform the court system is likely to result in a lack of confidence for private landlords, ultimately leading to a further loss of investment in an already highly penalised section of the housing system. A dedicated housing court would provide faster, less costly resolutions for tenants and landlords.”

Just Lets – Here to Help

If you are a landlord in or around Peterborough, and you need assistance in managing your rental property, we can help. We know these are challenging times for landlords, but there is a high demand for rental property. When you need guidance in the local market, contact Just Lets Peterborough today, and we will be happy to help you.

You can find Just Lets Peterborough at 142 Oundle Road, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, PE2 9PJ. Feel free to email us at peterborough@justlets.com or call us today on 01733 346255.

Tips For Landlords Looking To Let To Tenants With Pets

At Just Lets, we stay in touch with the latest regulations and guidelines in the rental market, ensuring Peterborough landlords stay in touch. Earlier this year, the Government changed the Model Tenancy Agreement. This change made it easier to tenants to stay in rental property with pets, even though this isn’t mandatory.

If you are interested in letting to tenants with pets, or you would like more information on this subject, we can help.

A recent study suggests:

  • 18% of landlords oppose the changes
  • 24% of landlords strongly support the recent changes
  • 55% of landlords support the changes to the Model Tenancy Agreement which allow tenants to have pets by default

Hope McKendrick, a head of lettings for a leading name in the English lettings market, said: “Of course, there are considerations for landlords to make in terms of protecting their property and many options have been discussed in parliament, including higher deposits, referencing for pets and specific insurance.”

Information provided by the Pet Food Manufacturers Association, who admittedly have a biased position when it comes to his information, claim close to half of the households across the United Kingdom own pets.

Guy Gittins, a known name in the UK letting sector, said “I understand what an important part pets can play in people’s lives and that landlords are often unaware of the benefits of allowing pets in their properties, that is why our company has chosen to support Dogs Trust’s Lets with Pets scheme. We encourage our landlords to consider letting their properties to tenants with pets and support them in their decision to do so.”

Should landlords let to tenants with pets?

Some of the reasons landlords should consider letting to tenants with pets include:

  • By having a greater level of prospective tenants to cater for, landlords can minimise the likelihood of void periods
  • Tenants with pets are liable to stay for longer because they have finally found a rental property that caters to their needs
  • There is a growing demand for this style of service
  • There is nothing to suggest a tenant with a pet is less responsible than a tenant with a pet- continue to do your due diligence on potential tenants and find reasonable tenants

Tips for landlords when considering letting to tenants with pets?

Review your leasehold terms as these may impact your ability to let to tenants with pets

  • Ask for a reference for any pets
  • Ask questions about the pet
  • Commit to a personal clean of the rental property, and include some commitment from the tenant to pay for or pay part of this process
  • Review your insurance policy and make sure you are covered to let property to tenants with pets
  • Update your tenancy agreement to include pets

If you are a landlord in or around Peterborough, and you need assistance in managing your rental property, we can help. We know these are challenging times for landlords, but there is a demand for rental property. When you need guidance in the local market, contact Just Lets Peterborough today, and we will be happy to help you.

You can find Just Lets Peterborough at 142 Oundle Road, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, PE2 9PJ. Feel free to email us at peterborough@justlets.com or call us today on 01733 346255.

Rental Arrears Fall – Good News For Landlords

At Just Lets, we know the challenges landlords face when tenants are late with rental payments. We work closely with Peterborough in an attempt to minimise this problem, both reactively and proactively.

We are pleased to see the findings of a recent study which suggests rental arrears are falling.

New study delivers landlords with cause for optimism

According to a study carried out by Paragon Bank, in the second quarter of 2021, landlords had an average of 1.3 tenants with an outstanding rental payment. This is the lowest figure since the opening quarter of 2011.

This means this is the lowest this figure has been in over ten years, and also, that quarter was when BVA BDRC (a research agency) started examining and following the metric.

There is cause for optimism for some landlords

In the opening quarter of 2021, landlords had an average of 1.6 tenants with an outstanding rental payment. If you are looking at the annual figures, there has been improvement too. In the second quarter of 2020, landlords had an average of 2.1 tenants with an outstanding rental fee. This was during the heart of the pandemic, so it is no surprise to see the figure at that time being higher.

There has also been a drop in the average amount of rent owed to landlords. The latest figure is a four-year low, which is another positive factor for landlords.

In the opening quarter of 2021, the average amount of rent owed to landlords was £2,736. In the second quarter of 2021, this dropped to £1,781; a fall of £595. The average amount of rent owned to landlords is at its lowest since the final quarter of 2017, when the amount was £1,584.

A lot of landlords were asked to lower rental fees

Some other findings from the survey which spoke to more than 750 landlords include:

• 36% of landlords received a tenant request to change their rent

• 14% of landlords received a tenant request to reduce rent by up to 20%

• 36% of landlords said they agreed to some form of rental fee change

• There has been a 7% drop in the year-on-year figures for requests to change rental agreements

Moray Hulme, Paragon Bank Director of Mortgage Sales said: “It is really encouraging to see the average number of tenants in rent arrears at the lowest point for ten years and the amount of outstanding rent at the lowest since 2017. Our latest survey has also shown us how landlords have been supporting tenants throughout the pandemic, granting requests to changes to rent in the vast majority of cases.”

Moray concluded by saying; “These requests have been falling alongside the incidences and volume of rent arrears and considering that the fewest number of people are now on furlough since the scheme launched in March 2020, it is a good indicator that the economy is bouncing back well.”

If you are a landlord in or around Peterborough, and you need assistance in managing your rental property, we can help. We know these are challenging times for landlords, but there is a demand for rental property. When you need guidance in the local market, contact Just Lets Peterborough today, and we will be happy to help you.

You can find Just Lets Peterborough at 142 Oundle Road, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, PE2 9PJ. Feel free to email us at peterborough@justlets.com or call us today on 01733 346255.

Peterborough Amongst Leading English Locations For Landlord ROI

At Just Lets, we know Peterborough is a good option for landlords. We are delighted to see a recent study by law firm Coulters suggest similar.

In the full list, Peterborough was listed as the 45th best town or city in the UK for ROI for landlords. This is by itself is notable given the population of the town, but it should be noted that Peterborough’s ranking in England is even better.

This is because there were 12 towns and cities from Scotland or Wales ranked above Peterborough. When you remove these locations from the rankings, Peterborough is just outside the top 30 for landlord ROI across England.

Peterborough has a lot to offer

Okay, you might be thinking that this means there are many options to consider before Peterborough, but when you take all the factors into consideration, there is a lot to like about investing in the Peterborough buy-to-let market.

In this study, the average sales price of property in Peterborough is listed as £220,654. This is an affordable price for many investors, and compares well with the national average. It is also a more affordable price than many of the destinations listed above Peterborough, including; Manchester, Leeds, York, Southampton, Norwich, Portsmouth, Northampton, Leicester, Bristol and Nottingham, amongst others.

Therefore, if you are on a budget and you are looking to buy property without overstretching yourself, Peterborough might be a more appealing option than many of the higher ranked options in this list.

There are even some towns and cities where the study suggests landlords will make a loss. While there is a lot that landlords can do to enjoy a better return on their investment, when you are up against things from the start, it can be difficult.

We know the Peterborough rental market

At Just Lets, we are pleased to say we have helped many landlords in and around Peterborough achieve the best possible return for their investment. We know the local area, we know what tenants are looking for, and we are pleased to help landlords connect with tenants in an effective manner.

If you would like to discuss the findings of this study, or you would like to learn more about the Peterborough letting market, we are more than happy to help you. Please get in touch, and we will be happy to arrange an appointment for you. As we move forward, the demand for rental property is as high as ever, if not even greater, and we are here to assist you if this is something you are interested in.

If you are a landlord in or around Peterborough, and you need assistance in managing your rental property, we can help. We know these are challenging times for landlords, but there is a demand for rental property. When you need guidance in the local market, contact Just Lets Peterborough today, and we will be happy to help you.

You can find Just Lets Peterborough at 142 Oundle Road, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, PE2 9PJ. Feel free to email us at peterborough@justlets.com or call us today on 01733 346255.

Confidence Amongst Landlords In Rental Sector

At Just Lets, we work closely with many landlords in and around Peterborough. We are pleased to say many local landlords are feeling optimistic about the market, and what is likely to follow. There is significant demand for rental property at the moment, and by providing a high standard of service, landlords are connecting with suitable tenants.

We are pleased to hear so many local landlords feel optimistic, and we also like to see studies that suggest landlords across the country feel the same.

There is demand for rental property

A study undertaken by The Deposit Protection Service and Zephyr Homeloans spoke to more than 300 landlords, with the headline finding being 34% of respondents say they have recently bought a buy-to-let property, or intend to buy one within the next nine months.

There is no denying the opportunity to buy property at a discounted rate has inspired many landlords to act.

The study provides insight into the most common reasons landlords have for buying property, including:

  • 35% of respondents seeing it as a long-term investment opportunity
  • 34% of respondents mentioned the stamp duty saving
  • 26% of respondents stated a desire to diversify by location
  • 23% of respondents wanted to diversify by property type

Paul Fryers, Managing Director at Zephyr Homeloans, said: “Understanding the purchasing motivations behind professional landlords is an essential factor for Zephyr and our mortgage broker clients. It’s equally important to recognise and appreciate some of the challenges landlords have been facing during the past year and how they will affect their current and future applications.”

Paul also said; “During the pandemic, we saw a significant rise in the use of limited companies to buy and manage property portfolios, and it seems a significant proportion of landlords have made the most of the opportunities provided by the buoyant market conditions we have experienced over the past six months.”

Are you looking to expand your rental property portfolio?

Other findings include:

  • 43% of landlords said they have temporarily lowered rents during the pandemic to assist tenants
  • 22% of landlords said they have refinanced their mortgage since the pandemic
  • Only 7% of landlords say they have taken a mortgage holiday
  • 13% of respondents said they sold a property during the pandemic

Matt Trevett, Managing Director at The DPS said: “Although the buy-to-let market has remained more buoyant than some predicted, the last year has not been without its challenges for many tenants and landlords. The survey suggests a large proportion of landlords have been acting to support their tenants, with a significant proportion saying they had temporarily lowered rents during the pandemic.”

Matt concluded by saying; “A recent survey from The DPS also showed that the pandemic has triggered movement from cities to towns and the countryside, so landlords seeking to rebalance their portfolios may look to make purchases that reflect that trend.”

If you are a landlord in or around Peterborough, and you need assistance in managing your rental property, we can help. We know these are challenging times for landlords, but there is a demand for rental property. When you need guidance in the local market, contact Just Lets Peterborough today, and we will be happy to help you.

You can find Just Lets Peterborough at 142 Oundle Road, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, PE2 9PJ. Feel free to email us at peterborough@justlets.com or call us today on 01733 346255.

New Green Fund To Upgrade Rental Properties

We all know environmental matters are important, and they are a vital factor in the rental market. Tenants want to be as environmentally friendly as possible, as they know this can significantly reduce the cost of energy bills.

Also, landlords must consider the importance of maintaining energy standards in their rental property. If a landlord doesn’t ensure their rental property complies with expected standards, they could be fined, or they could lose the right to serve as a landlord.

Help is on the way

A new plan that aims to assist upgrading 50,000 homes with green improvements should be of benefit to landlords.

The Government is behind a £562 million funding programme that aims to transform some of the least energy efficient properties in the country.

Some of the work set to be carried out with this plan include:

  • Adding cavity wall insulation to properties which lack this feature
  • The addition of loft insulation where there is currently none or where it is insufficient
  • Heat pumps will be provided
  • Solar panels will be installed

An immediate aim of this programme is to help people save up to £450 per year on their energy bills. This aim is part of a larger scheme which wants to eradicate fuel poverty, help people manage energy bills and to reduce the level of carbon emissions from domestic properties.

Over 200 local authorities in England and Scotland are set to benefit from funding.

The £500 million Local Authority Delivery Fund, part of the Green Homes Grant, makes up most of the funding and is keen to assist households with an income of under £30,000.

Work will be carried out with local authorities to make sure the money goes to people and households who need it most. This includes people living in private rented accommodation, which means many landlords will also benefit from this work.

Referral routes will be in place

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy says councils should be in a position to identify deserving households through various measures, including:

  • Liaising with health and charity sectors
  • Reviewing receipt of means tested benefits
  • Reviewing receipt of council tax exemptions

A spokeswoman for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy says: “Interested landlords should contact their local authority to see if they are taking part in the Local Authority Delivery scheme.”

UK Business and Energy Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, said: “This is yet another important step we are taking to eliminate our contribution to climate change and build back greener from the pandemic.”

If you are a landlord in or around Peterborough, and you need assistance in managing your rental property, we can help. We know these are challenging times for landlords, but there is a demand for rental property. When you need guidance in the local market, contact Just Lets Peterborough today, and we will be happy to help you.

You can find Just Lets Peterborough at 142 Oundle Road, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, PE2 9PJ. Feel free to email us at peterborough@justlets.com or call us today on 01733 346255.

More Calls For EPCs To Be Reviewed And Removed?

The National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) has supported a report by MPS which criticises Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs), and has called for a better standard of energy-efficiency measures for properties.

At this point in time, rental properties must have a rating of E or better. However, the Government is looking to raise the minimum rating from E to C. The timescale for this change is as follows:

  • New tenancies should hold at least a C rating by 2025
  • All existing tenancies should hold at least a C rating by 2028

The all-party Environmental Audit Committee states EPCs are outdated. They also state that EPCs don’t support modern energy efficiency, nor do they support low carbon heating measures.

The group says the Government has underestimated the costs associated decarbonising UK homes by 2050. They claim the underestimation stands at between £35 billion and £65 billion.

Cost will always be a significant factor

Around 19 million properties in the country require upgrades to meet band C standards. This might cost on average £18,000 per property. If so, this is a figure which is significantly higher than the Government’s estimate.

NRLA local authority policy officer Gavin Dick says: “We welcome the report, which features a range of recommendations that the NRLA have been calling for, which we believe would ensure landlords are empowered to make these essential changes. We know that landlords are willing to do the work, but they require more information on what updates to make and the order in which to do this work to make their properties energy efficient.”

Gavin Dick concludes by saying; “The committee recommendation also supports the NRLA’s calls to Government to roll over funds for the Green Homes Grants scheme. We’re also very supportive of the Committee’s call for the introduction of Building Renovation Passports to aid in the decarbonisation of homes. In our view the Committee’s recommendations would give landlords confidence to carry out the work to ensure the PRS plays its role in helping to bring about a net zero Britain by 2050.”

There are many recommendations to consider

As well as recommending EPCs are replaced with Building Renovation Passports, the MPs’ committee made the following recommendations:

  • All allocated funding for the Green Homes Grant that has not been spent by the end of March 2021 should be rolled over
  • Government should set out an ambitious but realistic trajectory for owner occupiers to achieve minimum EPC C standards in its Heat and Buildings Strategy
  • Government should work with the financial sector and major landlords, including local authorities and other social landlords, to stimulate renovation through green mortgages, green finance and low-cost loans
  • Schemes such as the Home Upgrade Grants, Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund and phase two of the Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery Scheme should all have their funding front-loaded and the schemes rolled out without delay
  • The Chancellor should reconsider proposals to reduce to five per cent the rate of VAT on the labour element of refurbishment and renovations, and reinstate the reduced rate of VAT payable on Energy Saving Materials at five per cent while expanding its scope to cover energy storage, heat pumps and electric vehicle charging. Up until 2019, certain clean technologies were eligible for a reduced rate of VAT of five per cent
  • The government should consider how the national infrastructure bank could be used as a vehicle to finance energy efficiency given the scale of success achieved in Germany through its state funded low interest loan scheme
  • The government should set out how energy efficiency improvements can be reached in homes currently out of scope in its “cost effective, practical and affordable” criteria
  • The government’s basic energy advice service available in England should be upgraded to a specialist bespoke advice service similar to the Home Energy Scotland network
  • The social rented sector should be subject to the same standards as the private rented sector

If you are a landlord in or around Peterborough, and you need assistance in managing your rental property, we can help. We know these are challenging times for landlords, but there is a demand for rental property. When you need guidance in the local market, contact Just Lets Peterborough today, and we will be happy to help you.

You can find Just Lets Peterborough at 142 Oundle Road, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, PE2 9PJ. Feel free to email us at peterborough@justlets.com or call us today on 01733 346255.

Leeway For Landlords In Letting To Pets

While most landlords are keen to increase the potential number of prospective tenants for their rental property, it is also vital landlords vet tenants.

Selecting the right standard of tenant is crucial for landlords, and this is often the difference between a successful letting period, and a challenging one.

Many landlords find themselves perturbed when considering applications from tenants who wish to live with a pet.

This is an evolving situation for landlords and tenants

The Government has recently said blanket refusals are no longer permitted. However, there are genuine reasons as to why landlords don’t wish to let property to tenants with pets. There is a need for clarification on what landlords can do, and if there are grounds for refusing a tenant’s application.

A recent response from a prominent member of the Government will be welcomed by landlords who would prefer to avoid letting rental property to tenants with pets.

Housing Minister Christopher Pincher responded to a written question from MP Rachael Maskell. The question asked what constitutes a good reason for landlords to deny a tenant a pet ownership request.

The response will be welcomed by many landlords who are looking for more leeway in this challenging matter.

A new response might lead to further questions

The Housing Minister responded, saying; “A good reason for a landlord to decline a pet ownership request would be where a pet is demonstrably poorly behaved or unsuited for the premises in question, for example, a large dog in a small flat, or where other tenants have allergies to animals.”

Landlords will likely come under greater pressure

There are groups which work with tenants to persuade landlords to allow tenants to have pets in their rental property. One such group is the non-profit voluntary organisation, AdvoCATS, and their founder, Jen Berezai recently released a statement.

Jen said; “I’d been volunteering for a local rescue, and had seen first-hand the heartbreak of an owner surrendering their pet because they weren’t allowed to keep it under their rental contract. I’d had a couple of cases where I’d been able to successfully negotiate a tenant keeping/getting a pet.”

The group is calling for the Tenant Fees Act 2019 to be amended, presenting landlords with the opportunity to demand tenants hold pet damage insurance (if applicable). This will provide landlords with greater confidence that damages caused by a pet are recoverable.

However, the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) want landlords to retain the freedom to say to tenants with pets if they would prefer to not let to these applicants. The NRLA released a statement, saying; “There is also often more a risk of damage to a property where there is a pet. This is compounded by legislation which means they are unable to reflect the heightened risk in such situations in the deposit that is charged.”

If you are a landlord in or around Peterborough, and you need assistance in managing your rental property, we can help. We know these are challenging times for landlords, but there is a demand for rental property. When you need guidance in the local market, contact Just Lets Peterborough today, and we will be happy to help you.

You can find Just Lets Peterborough at 142 Oundle Road, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, PE2 9PJ. Feel free to email us at peterborough@justlets.com or call us today on 01733 346255.

Budget Measures – Impact On Landlords

While the stamp duty holiday extension is mainly focused on the housing market, it is an opportunity for landlords to expand their property portfolio at a lower cost.

The stamp duty saving applies to landlords, and even though the extra charge applies for purchasing additional property, landlords can save money. Therefore, if you are looking to increase your rental stock, you still have time to do so.

If you need any guidance or support in the housing market after the March 2021 Budget, please get in touch with Just Lets Peterborough.

Stamp duty holiday extension offers relief to many buyers

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has announced an extension of the stamp duty holiday until June 30.

Following this date, the nil rate band for stamp duty will be set at £250,000 until the end of September.

On October 1st 2021, the nil rate band will return to the previous £125,000.

The additional three months of the stamp duty holiday will provide comfort for buyers and vendors whose property deal was still in the process of being completed.

Many would-be buyers were concerned at the thought of having to pay the full stamp duty to complete their move. In some cases, this would add £15,000 to the price of buying a home.

This rate applies only to home buyers in England and Northern Ireland. There are different schemes in place for property buyers in Scotland and Wales. It will be up to those nations to decide if they wish to follow suit or offer a similar scheme.

In his own words, Rishi Sunak said; “I can announce today the £500,000 nil rate band will not end on March 31, it will end on June 30. Then, to smooth the transition back to normal, the nil rate band will be £250,000, double its standard level, until the end of September – and we will only return to the usual level of £125,000 from October 1”.

Early thoughts from industry observers

Buying agent Henry Pryor said: “There will be a new cliff edge — it will just move from the end of March to the end of June. There will be a whole new load of people who will be wailing and gnashing their teeth because they could not get their deals over the line by June 30.”

Mark Peck, Director, Cheffins, an auctioneer business, said: “Whilst the extension to the stamp duty holiday will be welcomed for those with property sales already agreed, the government here is simply kicking the can down the road with chaos set to ensue once the tax break is reduced in June and tapered until September. The pressure on the property industry since the announcement of the stamp duty holiday has been immeasurable and this extension will simply continue to add to the strain already being felt by both buyers and sellers as they look to complete on sales before the end of the tax break.”

Mark concluded by saying; “Whilst the chancellor has attempted to manage this with the tapering system until September, the property industry will need to brace itself for further pandemonium throughout the summer months. Whilst the stamp duty holiday certainly allowed the property market to continue with full force throughout the coronavirus pandemic and ensure that property sales continued at a fast pace, it has created an unhealthy scenario with values increasing at unsustainable levels within a short space of time.”

There was no formal announcement of changes to Capital Gains Tax (CGT) in the Budget, although proposals are expected to follow soon.

If you are a landlord in or around Peterborough, and you need assistance in managing your rental property, we can help. We know these are challenging times for landlords, but there is a demand for rental property. When you need guidance in the local market, contact Just Lets Peterborough today, and we will be happy to help you.

You can find Just Lets Peterborough at 142 Oundle Road, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, PE2 9PJ. Feel free to email us at peterborough@justlets.com or call us today on 01733 346255.

 

Peterborough Landlords – Prepare For Debt Respite Scheme

At Just Lets Peterborough, we know landlords have a lot of regulations to comply with. We also know many factors impact landlords and tenants. We aim to provide you with as much valuable guidance as we can, and there is a scheme starting soon which might impact your business.

The Debt Respite Scheme, which is also known as Breathing Space, is set to come into effect as of May 2021.

The scheme will provide people who have “problem debt” the right to receive legal protection from being chased by creditors. This will apply to the rental sector, which means landlords and letting agents should be aware of how this affects them when chasing tenants for unpaid rent.

Be aware of two forms of breathing space on offer

According to information found on the Gov.uk website, there are two types of breathing space:

  • The standard breathing space
  • A mental health crisis breathing space

Any individual with problem debt can access the standard breathing space. This will provide them with legal protections from creditor action, and will remain valid for up to 60 days.

Government guidance states; “The protections include pausing most enforcement action and contact from creditors and freezing most interest and charges on their debts.”

The Government stresses the standard breathing space is NOT a payment holiday.

People looking to access the standard breathing space can do so in the following ways:

  1. Through an approved debt adviser registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
  2. Through their local authority, if the authority has been approved to provide this level of advice to residents

Anyone who applies for “space” is not allowed to obtain this assistance more than once per year.

The mental health crisis breathing space is only available for people receiving recognised mental health crisis treatment.

Take time to familiarise yourself with these schemes

If you are a creditor, with the obvious example being a landlord who is owed arrears, and you are informed that a debt to you is a breathing space debt, you must immediately stop actions relating to the debt. The creditor is also expected to apply the protections and ensure that these protections remain in place until the breathing space concludes.

This is also the case if you are informed of a breathing space debt where you have sold the debt to another creditor. You must inform the creditor about that breathing space.

The Government advice states; “If you do not do this as soon as possible, you’re liable for any losses the debtor or the assigned creditor have as a result.”

The Government has provided considerable guidelines on their website which can be accessed here.

The National Residential Landlords Association has analysed the guidelines and they believe there will be an impact on landlords where the tenant is in arrears.

The NRLA have released a statement, saying; “In these cases they cannot serve a Section 8 notice, apply for a warrant or money judgement or receive a possession order during the breathing space. They should also not contact the tenant to request payment of the debt during this time.”

The NRLA have also said; “It is worth noting that secured debts aren’t covered by breathing space rules, so your mortgage lender would still expect to receive mortgage payments during the period your tenant was in a breathing space. However, it is likely you would be able to come to an arrangement should you explain the situation.”

The NRLA concluded by saying; “You may continue to contact your tenant about anything not related to the debt. For example, arranging repairs or inspections for electrical or gas safety checks. In addition to this, if the tenant has asked to talk to you about a debt solution or debt then you can answer these enquiries.”

If you are a landlord in or around Peterborough, and you need assistance in managing your rental property, we can help. We know these are challenging times for landlords, but there is a demand for rental property. When you need guidance in the local market, contact Just Lets Peterborough today, and we will be happy to help you.

You can find Just Lets Peterborough at 142 Oundle Road, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, PE2 9PJ. Feel free to email us at peterborough@justlets.com or call us today on 01733 346255.