Dove Statement Covid-19 - Office Closed & FAQs

17/03/2020

Updated 15th May

Important Covid-19 update- Dove Statement & FAQs

We are closely monitoring the situation with the COVID-19 outbreak and are adapting our operations to mitigate the challenges the situation is presenting. The health of our customers, tenants, landlords, contractors and team members is paramount

Please be aware that the Dove Properties office will now be temporarily closed to the public.

All enquiries are to be conducted over email and all contractors are reminded to follow key drop off procedures as set out in our recent email. We ask that people do not visit the office, and instead please contact us via email - info@doveproperties.co.uk

At present our team will work remotely to provide the highest level of service possible. We will be following this protocol until further notice and will be acting on advice from the Government in the interest of safeguarding our valued staff, customers and clients during this time.

Our Lettings operations continue amended with the use of Video Tours. Tenancy Agreements and payments can be carried out electronically. Repairs, Certification, Rent collection operations continue as normal. 

Everyone at Dove Properties thanks you for your ongoing support and understanding, and we look forward to being able to welcome you back into the office as soon as possible.

Please see below some answers to frequently asked questions that we are receiving:

Covid-19 FAQs:

Are you still open?

No. Our office is currently closed to the public due to government advice on social distancing.

Are you still operating?

Yes, operations still continue in the background, and the majority of our team are working remotely.

How about maintenance and repairs for your managed properties?

These are still continuing where appropriate and/or urgent. A pragmatic approach is however needed to ensure that risks are mitigated for both tenants and contractors. We will therefore likely ask you a number of questions should you submit a request. We also still have a duty to carry out property certification visits as and when they expire. In line with restrictions on non-essential travel, if your request is non urgent, we would ask that you consider waiting to submit any repair requests that are not essential.

Are you carrying out viewings?

Viewing operations are affected due to social distancing advice and/or where persons are self isolating.  Where possible we are trying to carry out video tour viewings.

Is my tenancy agreement affected by the COVID-19 outbreak?

Tenancy Agreements remain valid and are not affected by the outbreak.

Do i still need to pay my rent?

Yes, tenancy agreement commitments remain in place. Typically, properties are owned by individual day to day Landlords or small family businesses who rely on the rental income. In line with government advice, Landlords are still expecting to receive their rental payments and no refunds are available for any rent already paid. University advice in this regard can be found here: https://www.smartmovesheffield.com/Pages/Coronavirus%20(COVID-19)

Are student loan payments affected?

We understand that student loan payments will go ahead as planned. Please see below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/slc-coronavirus-covid-19-update--2

I am struggling to make a rent payment, what can i do?

In line with government advice, where a specific tenant is particularly finding it difficult to make a payment due to the COVID-19 outbreak, we are happy to talk to the Landlord on your behalf. It is possible they would set up a payment plan, however it should be noted that if they do agree to this, typically this would not reduce the amount owed, just potentially spread out the payments further. 

What is government advice in this regard?

Government advice states: "Tenants should continue to pay rent and abide by all other terms of their tenancy agreement to the best of their ability. The government has a strong package of financial support available to tenants, and where they can pay the rent as normal, they should do. Tenants who are unable to do so should speak to their landlord at the earliest opportunity."

What is government advice about remaining in the accommodation?

The Government have lifted restrictions with regards to moving house.  The most recent government update can be found here http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/350 and states that moving home is now permitted subject to various measures to reduce risk related to COVID-19. 

What about move in/move out procedures in the summer?

In light of recent government updates, at this time move/ins and move outs are permitted to go ahead as planned. Dove properties will be writing to our tenants to update them with changes to the check out procedure over the upcoming weeks in order to ensure that we comply with government guidance and put the safety of our tenants and staff at the forefront. We will continue to monitor government advice as the summer changeover period approaches. 

Are Landlords able to benefit from government assistance?

Lenders have offered some Landlords mortgage payment holidays for 3 months where specifically needed. This doesn’t affect the total sum owed and the mortgage continues to accrue interest in this period. If a payment is not made by the Landlord, the total amount owed could therefore increase. In addition, although the government has given assurances that making use of the mortgage ‘holiday’ won’t negatively impact a Landlord's credit score, the banks have not been as clear on this point. Some lenders are saying that the holiday will be recorded on thr Landlord's credit file and therefore this could impact future lending decisions.

Please also note it appears that in order to qualify for this scheme, Landlords may need to provide evidence to the lender that their tenant cannot make a payment. As student loan payments are due to go ahead, this could therefore be more challenging than initially thought.