This is clearly going to be a testing time for landlords and tenants alike and so last night the government announced that there will be emergency legislation implemented to try and alleviate some of the pressure on those landlords and tenants affected by coronavirus.

In order to protect tenants who are experiencing financial difficulties due to coronavirus, landlords will not be able to start proceedings to evict tenants in either social or private accommodation for at least the next three months.

In turn, in order to alleviate the pressure on landlords who will undoubtedly be concerned about meeting mortgage payments themselves, the three month mortgage payment holiday announced on Tuesday for private homeowners will be extended to landlords whose tenants are experiencing financial difficulties due to coronavirus.

At the end of this period, landlords and tenants will be expected to work together to establish an affordable repayment plan, taking into account tenants’ individual circumstances. Under the ‘pre-action protocol’ for possession proceedings, social landlords are already required to engage in effective communications with their tenants to try and understand the cause of any arrears and understand their financial circumstances better in an attempt to try and resolve any issues before issuing proceedings for possession. The government has last night announced that the protocol will now be widened to include private renters to strengthen its remit.

It should be noted that this new legislation is implemented to protect those who have been affected by coronavirus only and is not a get out of jail free card for tenants who are already in arrears for some other reason or are in breach of their lease terms in some other manner.