Dove Statement Covid-19 - Office Open & FAQs

29/09/2020

Updated 29th September

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 our office is currently open however operating with a locked door policy. We ask that wherever possible any enquiries are made via email - info@doveproperties.co.uk or phone - 01142660660. Any visitors to the office must wear a face covering and observe the 2 metre distancing rules, anyone not wearing a face mask or suitable covering may be asked to wait outside. Please see below link for our guide for those attending meetings at our office. 

https://www.sheffieldstudenthousing.co.uk/news/94/guidance-for-those-attending-meetings-at-dove-properties-office

All contractors are reminded to follow key drop off procedures as set out in our recent email.

At present some of our team are still working remotely, however the majority are now back in the office and working hard 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 in addition to viewings in person with Covid-19 protocols in place. Tenancy Agreements and payments can be carried out electronically via email. Repairs, Certification, Rent collection operations continue as normal. 

Everyone at Dove Properties thanks you for your ongoing support and understanding.

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

Covid-19 FAQs:

Are you still open?

Yes. Our office is currently open however we are operating a locked door policy.  We are asking that where possible, appointments are made for any visits and that all visitors wear a suitable face mask or covering at all times in the office.

Are you still operating?

Yes, operations still continue with updated Covid-19 procedures in place as per the government guidance.

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.

Are you carrying out viewings?

We are currently carrying out viewings in accordance with our Covid-19 viewing procedure. Please see the link below:

https://www.sheffieldstudenthousing.co.uk/students/57/covid-19-viewings-procedure

For existing tenants we have put together a seperate guide for viewings:

https://www.sheffieldstudenthousing.co.uk/existing-tenants/58/covid-19-viewing-guidance-for-current-tenants

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. 

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 the 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.