Unable to move due to Corvid 19

My tenants notified me a month ago that they would be moving to a property nearer their current work. They have signed an AST with the new landlord so are committed to paying the rent on the new property. Because of the movement restrictions of coronavirus and being unable to hire a remover they will have to remain in my property until movement restrictions are lifted. This could be months. Are they still responsible for paying my rent as my AST will still be in place?


i think this is open to negotiation with all parties

Hi Amanda, I agree with Colin that this can be negotiated and agreed between all parties. The government seem to be hoping that landlords and tenants will be able to resolve these issues without needing intervention by e.g. the courts.

ASTs assume that the tenants are using the property as their primary residence, so things can get quite confusing very quickly if a tenant is technically party to two ASTs at the same time.

I would agree with you interpretation that the tenants have not fully terminated the tenancy by serving notice, since they did not also move out. In that case, it is arguable that the would still owe you rent, since the tenancy has not been terminated and by occupying the property, they are preventing you from letting it to anyone else.

Given that the landlord of the other property does not currently have tenants in their property, it would seem to make more sense for the tenants to try and delay the commencement of that tenancy than for you to forego rent due from your existing tenancy?


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@Amanda10, if they haven’t moved out, they should continue to pay you the rent - as you say, the AST remains in force. They really should be negotiating with their new landlord: either to delay the move or to pull out altogether. But this is uncharted territory for everyone, and we landlords are in the worst position.


As you will be unable to get a new tenant in at the moment, perhaps agree that the tenant pays the ongoing rent for the next 3 months but that on a successful vacate and inventory you will refund 50% of that 3 months rent paid when they go.

They will see the potential saving and would be more likely to put off the new tenancy - and you will get some rent instead of none AND a tenant who will ensure your property looks great when they do move.

I’m a landlord kind of at the other end of this type of problem. I completed on an empty flat early March and tenants are/were due to move in on April 4th (moving approx 100 miles to the area). The deposit and first month’s rent has been paid to OpenRent.

The tenants contacted me to say they can’t move for 3 weeks due to the restrictions. I’ve agreed to the 3 weeks but advised that i can’t keep delaying it, as i think it’ll be a lot worse after the initial 3 weeks and we can probably all expect the restrictions to be in place for at least 3 months. He’s obviously and understandably got some agreement from his current landlord to stay on where he is.

I shall ask him what his intentions are going forward. It’s him, his wife and 3 year old twins. I guess it’d be hard moving to a new area and then just being expected to stay in. I don’t really want to keep having to delay a move, which could be several months and, with him still paying his current landlord for where he’s living i can’t really expect him to pay for this one too (can i?) when we’re effectively delaying the contract start date each time.

I feel like advising him that i would be happy if he pulled out all together and return his rent and deposit. This is not the right time for him to move his family 100 miles away. This needs to be put on hold 3-6 months.

This would/does leave me with an empty flat, with bills to pay and at a time when it’s harder to find new tenants. The one option i could possibly do, as the flat is only 200 metres from Gloucester Hospital, is to advertise it as available for local keyworkers only and to state that people would need to ‘take’ the flat without viewing (i do have plenty of photos, it’s in mint condition, actually do OpenRent allow me to upload videos?). This is presuming i can still advertise currently?

So landlords, what would you do? Stick with the current tenant and take, potentially, several months hit. Or allow/suggest we cancel the contract and try and get some local keyworkers in?

flexibility and reasonability supersede civil legality at present in this respect Amanda hence you need to be very flexible and cautious to dealing with such transactions at present and be very open to the fact that your business is not what it was 3 months ago, i.e. 1 out and 1 in the day for instance, i am just about to offer 1 of my leaving tenants a half price rental option for them to stay on otherwise i will have no-one so something is better than nothing.

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I would cancel and get locals keyworkers in… That works for the other landlord too.


Similar situation. I had tenants that had given notice for a move on 4th April, which was fine for me as I was planning to redevelop the property, just to be sure I served a section 21 anyway two months ago. They’ve since both moved back to family homes a long way from London as they were both told to work from home some weeks ago, they’ve no idea when they’ll be back to be able to move their stuff to their new place which they still want to do. At the same time my contractors due to start 5th April have suspended all building work as most have and I’ve no idea when they’ll be able to begin. The tenants were asking for a discount as they couldn’t move. I could have played hardball with them saying the AST still stood as they had not vacated the property, but I figured they’d probably then be forced to make a trip to clear the flat and both parties having already given notice, I’d then get no money at all and have an empty flat. I figured the sensible thing to do was negotiate a big discount and allow them to leave whenever they could, which they gratefully accepted. I’ve re-advertised the flat as a short let for when it does become vacant and I’ve had a surprising number of enquiries in the circumstances.

I know of a removal company still working as they have provisions in place and work closely with care in the community/social welfare community
Message me if you would like their details. Worcestershire based

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