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There are no plans to ban rent increases during the coronavirus crisis, Housing Minister Christopher Pincher has told the House of Commons.
‘All tenants remain liable for their rent and those who can afford to should continue to pay it. At the end of this period, if arrears have built up, landlords and tenants will be expected to work together to establish an affordable repayment plan, taking into account the tenants’ individual circumstances’, he said in response to a written question from Labour MP Barry Sheerman
A substantial package of financial support had been put in place for those affected by the crisis, said the Minister. ‘These significant financial measures will help to support tenants to continue to pay their living costs, including rental payments’.
In response to separate questions asking whether his department had considered giving support to students in rented accommodation by introducing rent holidays or freezes, or by allowing them early release from rental contracts, Pincher said the Government had already announced a package of measures to protect renters, including students, affected by coronavirus.
‘Students will continue to receive scheduled payments of loans towards their living costs for the remainder of the current, 2019/20, academic year’, he said.
‘The negotiation of early releases from contracts is a matter between the parties concerned. The Government encourages student accommodation providers, landlords, letting agencies and tenants to act flexibly and adopt a common-sense approach to issues that may arise in the current circumstances’.
* Letting and property sales are moving fast into a virtual world, with rising demand for online appointments and tours, says the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks’
The coronavirus crisis has certainly changed the housing market and created new ways of safe working, reports Danny Zane, managing director of My Property Inventories and AIIC chairman.
‘We have seen a demand for virtual viewings and tours from lettings agents and estate agents in recent weeks. This is clearly due to the current Covid-19 situation. Finding virtual and video ways to carry out viewings is clearly a great solution for those who need to move at this time and will help ease stagnation in the housing market’.