Covid-19: What is happening at Helen Breeze Property Management

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With the government moving on to a near ‘lock down’ phase we wanted to give you an update on what we are doing.

Our priority is to protect our staff, tenants, landlords, contractors and all those that we work with while adhering to the Government guidelines to clamp down on the spread of Covid-19

We are all familiar with Boris Johnson’s announced on 23 March 2019 in which he announced stay at home and only go out for the following reasons:

  • shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible
  • one form of exercise a day – for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household;
  • any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person; and
  • travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home

Currently all staff, are working from home while the Partners are taking it in turns to man the office for post and to log keys.  Because of this, all rent statements will be sent by email until further notice.  If you would rather we didn’t send them in this way please let us know.

Repairs and Maintenance

We can confirm that following the announcement on 23 March 2020 we can continue to:

  • Do our absolute best to respond to any emergencies and maintain fast and regular communication with all parties involved – be it landlords, tenants, contractors or any other parties involved in any particular case.
  • Attend to urgent issues.
  • Keep you updated in timely and considered manner on issues that might affect the tenancy, your rental income and your property.

Due to the greater restrictions due to Health and Safety concerns and the supply of parts, we may not be able to attend to non-urgent issues, but these will still be logged by tenants on our fix-flo portal.

Rent

As you may imagine we are receiving more and more questions from both tenants and landlords about what will happen with the rental income if tenants begin to experience financial difficulties. The government are clearly supportive and are introducing a range of measures aimed to stabilise the rental market and prevent situations where people could lose their homes as a result of the pandemic.

At this stage we know that measures are to include:

  • Emergency legislation to suspend new evictions from social or private rented accommodation while this national emergency is taking place
  • No new possession proceedings through applications to the court to start during the crisis
  • Landlords will also be protected as the three-month mortgage payment holiday is extended to Buy to Let mortgages
  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme with furloughed workers which enables employers to access grants from HMRC to allow them to reclaim 80% of staff’s gross salaries up to £2,500 a month per employee, backdated to March 1 2020
  • Help for self-employed workers

Having said this, it has to be noted that precise legal mechanisms are still not in place, but emergency legislation is being taken forward as an urgent priority so that landlords will not be able to start proceedings to evict tenants for at least a three-month period. From our understanding the legal framework for mortgage holidays for landlords is also still ‘in works’. We know the government is trying to act fast and at this stage we are trying to reassure tenants that we will try to help them in the way outlined by the government.  In order to do so, the first step is for affected tenants to provide us with proof of their financial situation worsening. Then, based on the received information and on the landlord’s circumstances we will try to reach a workable solution which, hopefully, will satisfy the landlord and the tenant – to at least some extent.  It is clear that some flexibility will be required from all involved.

We are watching the government’s, lenders’ and other parties’ moves closely. We will inform you of any changes and clarifications. We would also be grateful if you share with us any experience with any particular lender, as we expect various financial organisations to come up with slightly different terms and initiatives, or in some cases none at all, unless specifically ordered by the government

Market

As everybody’s movement has been restricted many intended move-ins have been put on hold.  Our view is that the restrictions will not be lifted in 3 weeks and are therefore suggesting we put back start dates to beyond this period.    With more people at home, we envisage there will be more people looking on the web including facebook and property portals such as Rightmove, Zoopla and On the Market.  We are keeping in touch with interested parties so that when the restrictions are loosened we will be in a position to act quickly.

We will do our absolute best to keep you informed and are always happy to answer any further questions.

All at HBPM Team

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