Housing: Guidance for Renters
Many people are worried about being able to pay rent. Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions:
Can my landlord evict me straight away because of coronavirus?
It’s illegal for your landlord to evict you without following the proper steps.
– coronavirus doesn’t change this.
It’s likely to be an illegal eviction if your landlord:
- makes you leave without notice or a court order
- locks you out of your home, even temporarily
You can get help from the Council or Court if your landlord prevents you accessing your home.
What if I’m a lodger?
Your landlord still needs to follow the correct process, even if you live with them. They don’t need to go to court but you’re usually entitled to notice before you can be made to leave.
What if I’ve had notice from my landlord?
You should stay in your home.
Evictions take time and you don’t have to leave at the end of your notice.
Most tenants who get a notice between 26 March 2020 and 30 September 2020 will be entitled to 3 months’ notice before their landlord can apply to court.
- private tenants who get a section 21 or a section 8
- secure, introductory and flexible council tenants
- housing association tenants
- regulated tenants
What if my landlord has already applied to court?
It isn’t clear whether evictions will still go ahead if your landlord has already applied to court. Many courts are adjourning or postponing eviction hearings up until June.
Courts are staying open for the moment in line with government guidance.
Contact your court to find out what’s happening.
The court may arrange a phone or video hearing.
Rent payment problems
I’m worried about rent arrears. What should I do?
Speak to your landlord if you’re struggling to pay rent.
They could be sympathetic especially if you’ve lost your job or seen your income reduce suddenly.
They might agree to a rent reduction or to accept rent late. Get any agreement in writing.
Buy to let landlords may get mortgage payment holidays if their tenants have financial problems due to coronavirus.
Landlord access to your home
Can my letting agent still go ahead with visits and inspections?
Your agent should postpone all non essential visits such as:
- routine tenancy inspections
- viewings towards the end of your tenancy
Tell your agent you can’t allow access to your home at the moment because of Government coronavirus guidance.
What if I need repairs or a gas safety check is due?
Landlords have the same responsibilities for repairs during the coronavirus outbreak.
You should report repairs by phone, email or online.
They might not be able to get the problem fixed during the usual timescales but shouldn’t delay repairs unreasonably.
Annual Gas Safety Checks remain an important legal requirement. Your landlord should rearrange any Gas Safety Checks that are booked in over the next 3 weeks if they cannot go ahead safely. Further guidance is expected from the Gas Safe Register.