COVID-19 – Q&A: How is it affecting landlords and tenants?
COVID-19 is going to have an enormous impact on all of us over the coming weeks and months. Questions was raised regarding the post effect of Covid 19 and we have pulled together answers to some of the key questions that are likely to arise between landlords and tenants. Can online rental system help?
Alternatively, if a landlord or tenant wishes to consider termination of its lease as a result of COVID-19, it should review whether there is a break clause in the lease which can be operated or if the tenant is in breach, whether the landlord can forfeit the lease.
Can a lease be terminated if there is a force majeure clause?
It seems unlikely that COVID-19 will fall within a force majeure clause without express wording as it is arguably not a foreseeable event. However, it will depend on the precise wording of the clause in the lease. In addition, commercial landlords and tenants will also need to consider whether there is a rent suspension clause in the lease but again, it is unlikely that the wording will extend expressly to COVID-19.
What action can landlords take if tenants cannot afford to pay rents due to business interruption as a result of COVID-19? Is rental system beneficial?
In the usual way, a landlord may forfeit a lease for non-payment of rent either by possession proceedings, if the premises are residential or by peaceable re-entry or proceedings if the premises are commercial.
No doubt landlords and tenants will open dialogues with each other to discuss particular issues to help tide them over this difficult period. Commercial landlords may have the added incentive not to forfeit leases unless they are able to re-let the premises, as they will become liable for expenses in respect of the property such as business rates (subject to any exemptions).
Online rental system facilitates the process since that tenants does not directly address landlords. In this case, you are in a much better position as depending on your rental status, agencies may support and help you dealing with the owner.
If there is a coronavirus outbreak in a building , can a landlord prevent access to the building?
The short answer is no. There will be either a quiet enjoyment covenant in the lease or it will be a term implied into the lease). This prevents a landlord from disrupting a tenant’s use and enjoyment of the premises. So, the landlord will be in breach of that provision if it prevents access to the building.
However, there could be regulations in the leases (particularly within residential long leases of flats) within a building which enable a landlord to review or update regulations. For example, limit access to certain common parts.
Will a tenant breach its “keep-open clause” in a commercial lease if it is forced to close or reduce opening hours?
There is likely to be a covenant in the lease to comply with all statutory and Government requirements. This is likely to override any keep open clause in a commercial lease.
If the Government has advised or created new legislation forcing premises to close, then there is unlikely to be any action a landlord can take unless there is another breach such as rent arrears for which the landlord can forfeit the lease.
What actions can tenants take if they are struggling to pay via rental system in respect of either residential or commercial premises?
A tenant should seek to open a dialogue with a landlord and discuss a rent concession.
For commercial tenants, they should also check relevant insurance policies which they hold for business interruption. This will ascertain what cover they have.
Online rental system may facilitates the process since tenants do not directly address landlords. In this case, you are in a much better position. Depending on your rental status, agencies may support and help you dealing with the owner.
With the RentGuard system, all information are stored and monitored by our staff. We will help you to handle any issues faced by your Landlord. Our system keep tracks of all tenants and landlords record, payment and deposits. There is no need for you to be worried about your rentals. Our support team are here to handle any discussions or issues between both parties. This leaves you with a hassle free life. We know it might be difficult for you during this pandemic. Feel free to contact us.
What are the duties of online rental system, landlords and management companies to the occupants of residential buildings/estates in respect of COVID-19?
There are existing health and safety obligations on landlords such as legionella risks and gas safety. However, coronavirus is different as it is not linked directly to a building.
Sometimes landlords provide single property with no service provided. Then, it is unlikely that a landlord has any legal obligations to the tenant or other occupiers.
However, there are other services such as cleaning or maintenance of other parts of the premises under the landlord’s control. Then, the landlord may have responsibilities to employees and contractors.
Also, a landlord should check with its insurance broker/insurers as to any specific requirements under block policies.
Online rental system will facilitates the process since that tenants does not directly address landlords. In this case, you are in a much better position as depending on your rental status, agencies may support. They can also help you dealing with your owner.
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