It takes flexibility, compassion, and stamina to navigate the eviction process at the best of times. But, due to Covid-19, it takes more careful and considered steps than ever to repossess a property.
Last week, Housing Minister Christopher Pincher gave more detail about how the process will work once the current ban on evictions, introduced back in March, is lifted on August 23.
Pre-action rules explained
These new guidelines are called ‘pre-action rules’ and will remain in place until the end of March 2021.
If a landlord wishes to evict a tenant, they will have to:
- Inform the court and tenant in writing that they wish the case to proceed. Without this ‘reactivation notice’, the courts will consider the case dormant.
- Provide the courts with any information they have on how Covid-19 has impacted their tenant.
- Provide a full arrears history.
Fail to follow these rules, and judges can adjourn proceedings, something that will only drag the process out even further.
For landlords embroiled in long-running disputes, this move places an ever-greater burden on their shoulders.
What Action Landlords Can Take
These changes will only exacerbate the existing backlog of cases. The housing charity Shelter estimates there could be as many as 200,000 in the pipeline.
Landlords in Swindon can avoid getting caught up in this legal nightmare, by treating eviction as the absolute last resort. Here are some tips to navigate your way through tricky situations and to hopefully avoid court action.
- As they say, it takes two to tango. Don’t sit back and wait to hear from your tenant. You, or your letting agent, need to stay in regular contact with your tenant. That way, if they hit hard times, you can respond quickly.
- If a tenant is struggling to pay their rent, don’t press the panic button. There are several strategies you can pursue, from rent reductions to flexible payment plans. Before you negotiate one of these options, please seek advice from us.
- It’s easy to feel emotional or stressed when difficulties arise, but you need to remain cool-headed and pragmatic. What you do at the early stages of a dispute can be critical to recouping rental funds and determine the nature of the relationship in the future.
- And of course, keep a record of all conversations and text and email exchanges.
These steps are the basics of managing tenancies during the Covid-19 crisis.
If you don’t feel qualified or comfortable doing all this yourself, we’re lettings experts and we can do it for you. We can take the lead, lighten the load, and make your life a lot easier.
For more advice about managing your property during Covid-19, contact us here at The Property Shop Swindon.
We’re here to help guide you through these difficult times.