Landlords need help too. As a landlord lawyer in Birmingham, I see the struggles that property investment landlords in Birmingham face daily. As a landlord, I also deal with my own property investment landlord challenges. So, I understand property investment challenges that landlords in Birmingham face both from a practical perspective as well as an advisory perspective. That is why we are the preferred property investment solicitors in Birmingham.
I have also been a tenant. So, I can understand and appreciate the difficulties that tenants face. I do not take tenant evictions lightly. I believe that tenant evictions should only be effected if all else fails. Tenant evictions are a landlord’s weapon of last resort. Negotiations come first. If negotiations fail, then tenant eviction should be considered.
The Covid-19 pandemic has hit all of us in Birmingham hard. Unfortunately, landlords are an often-under-represented group when grievances and concerns are raised. Much of the focus remains on tenants. Tenants in Birmingham have received a raft of incentives and bailouts to make their lives easier amid the chaos of lockdowns, reduced incomes, and furlough. Landlords in Birmingham have received next to nothing.
Yet it is not only tenants in Birmingham who have experienced financial discomfort during this turbulent time. Landlords are struggling to cover their costs and keep their finances in order, with only limited assistance from a reluctant UK government. At times like these, landlords in Birmingham are apt to be asking themselves why – and wondering how to stay afloat until market conditions improve. Most landlords in Birmingham have seen their property investment plummet and sink into an abys liability. As a landlord lawyer helping property investors in Birmingham with their estate management, I constantly have conversations with property investment landlords around this subject matter.
Here are some of the things you as a landlord in Birmingham can do to help your property investment stay afloat in this COVID-19 lockdown.
Property investment landlord rights
Nobody wants to be the ‘big bad landlord’, but it is also important that you know where you stand. If you are unable to pay your own costs on the property, then you risk losing it. For many property investment landlords in Birmingham, their income from rent is their sole source of household finance or acts as the alternative to a pension. The myth of the wealthy landlord is often just that – and should never leave you concerned about whether you can raise applicable concerns with your tenants or with the necessary government officials in Birmingham.
Property investors can cut costs too
During times of crisis, it may be useful to look at cutting costs wherever possible – whether through your own household expenditure or on any planned ‘work’ you had previously scheduled for your rental property. Aside from maintenance relating to safety, which remains essential, now is the time to dial back more ambitious plans for the property and instead focus on doing only what cannot be delayed until after the pandemic has passed.
As a property investor you must understand tenant eviction law
The UK’s eviction ban came into effect at the start of the UK’s first lockdown, ensuring that tenants could not be evicted from landlord properties.
As of 20th September 2020, this six-month eviction ban was halted, but for many landlords in Birmingham the damage will have already been done. If you now find yourself picking through the debris of those months you were unable to evict troublesome tenants, or suffered with little-to-no rental income, then you will be pleased to hear that the second lockdown (at present) has no such rules attached to it.
Should you need to evict a tenant – for any reason – you are now able to do so. The type of eviction you issue will be dependent upon the reasoning and circumstances, but tried and tested options such as a Section 21 and a Section 8 are now entirely possible.
Some of the main reasons for tenant evictions include:
● Rent arrears – what a property investment landlord’s options
If your tenants have not been paying rent, then you are now legally able to issue them with an eviction notice. While compassion is of course important, you must be sure this does not negatively impact your own bottom line to a damaging extent.
● Selling property / taking it off the market as part of your property investment strategy
If you’ve decided it’s time to sell your property in Birmingham or simply wish to take it off the market for the foreseeable future, then you are also able to evict the tenant(s). As with all evictions, you will need to provide an appropriate notice period. For a Section 21 notice, the eviction period must be at least two months, giving your tenants time to find alternative accommodation. Due to COVID-19, the current eviction period has been extended from two months to six months.
● Additional eviction reasons available for property investors
These are not the only reasons why you may choose to evict someone from your property. If you have reason to believe they have been using it illegally, or want to move into the home yourself, then you are also able to issue your tenants with an eviction notice.
Timing is critical for landlords when evicting tenants. Ensure you comply with the appropriate rules and regulations by sticking to government housing guidelines.
Will there be another tenant eviction ban?
While at the time of writing it is legal to evict tenants, there are growing concerns that a second eviction ban will come into place, should the UK’s second lockdown last longer than anticipated. The government has so far been silent on whether landlords will be provided with any additional assistance, or whether they will be forced to allow tenants to remain in their property.
Several homelessness and tenant rights charities have begun lobbying for a resumption of the eviction ban, which could prove catastrophic for landlords who simply want to make ends meet and make the most of their property investment.
● Seek legal guidance
The best advice I can provide for landlords in Birmingham who are concerned about the implications of the second lockdown is to seek legal guidance. It is essential that you remain within the law to avoid adding legal troubles to your list of problems.
What help is there for landlords?
Landlords have otherwise largely been left to their own devices during the Covid-19 pandemic. From September onwards however, landlords in Birmingham can now apply for a grant to help them make energy-efficiency improvements to their properties.
These grants are designed for areas such as insulation, heating and draught-proofing your property, as well as providing the opportunity to purchase energy efficient home improvements via the scheme. For those who have property currently standing empty, or amenable tenants (and with energy efficiency becoming more important), this is a great way to futureproof the home without leaving yourself out of pocket.
Things are not all gloomy for property investors in Birmingham. If you have the capital to spare, then now is a surprisingly good time to invest. One area which continues to see rapid growth is HMOs (houses in multiple occupation), helping to encourage landlords and property investors alike to expand their horizons.
Need a specialised solicitor in Birmingham?
Property law is complex and distinct from other types of legal practice, so specialised guidance is required to navigate these difficult waters! As a legal professional specialising in property investment law and evictions, I’m happy to share my expertise with landlords who need my help. Not only am I a lease option lawyer, but I am also a property investor who can see things from your point of view. Feel free to get in touch: https://creativelegals.co.uk or https://juliecondliffe.com.
Julie Condliffe provides legal help in property investment matters
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