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Tenant and home owner notices and evictions during COVID-19

Detached house

During the current COVID-19 outbreak the following new legislation and guidance has been brought in to protect tenants and home owners facing eviction:

Mortgage payment holiday - home owner and shared ownership

If you're struggling to pay your mortgage because of coronavirus, for example you've lost your income or you can't work because you're sick and/or self-isolating, you can ask the bank for a 'payment holiday'.

This means you would be able to temporarily suspend payments for up to  3 months and repay the amount at a later date.

You'd have to contact them directly to discuss this and they may suggest other options that would be better in your case.

Court action suspended - tenants and home owners

If you received a notice to quit before 26 March 2020, your landlord won't be able to get a court order straight away.

This is because from 27 March 2020 the courts have suspended all possession proceedings for 90 days. You cannot be required to  leave without a court order and warrant for execution of that order.

This applies to anyone who has the right to a court order and a warrant, including homeowners who have a mortgage, shared ownership occupiers,  tenants, and service occupiers. It doesn't apply to lodgers.

Right to a longer notice - tenants

If you rent from a private landlord or a housing association and you received a notice from your landlord on or after 26 March 2020, the notice must give you a minimum of three months.

This applies even if you are in rent arrears.

Currently the requirement for longer notices applies only between 26 March and 30 September 2020, but it may be extended in the future. You're not protected if you're a lodger or if you're staying in emergency accommodation awaiting a decision on your homeless application.

If you receive a notice to check its validity please contact Housing Advice Services.

Regardless of the legislation, government advice is where tenants have difficulty paying rent over this period, landlords are asked not to issue a notice seeking possession, particularly given that the tenant may be sick or facing other hardship due to COVID-19.

Repairs - tenants

The pandemic doesn't mean your landlord isn't responsible for repairs to your home. However, some delays may be inevitable.

The government has advised landlords to only go into tenants' homes if the repairs or safety issues are urgent and serious.

If your landlord has to come in to deal with an urgent problem, make sure you follow the advice on social distancing, for example stay in a separate room.

Tell your landlord if you don't want them to come in, you may be able to negotiate a different solution.

Right to access - viewings

Government guidance recommends that access to a property is only proposed for serious and urgent issues such as those set out on this page.

Requirement to pay rent - tenants

Tenants are still required to pay rent during this emergency situation.

If your financial situation has changed and you become entitled to housing benefit or Universal Credit housing costs a claim for Discretionary Housing Payment may help you.

For details on how to make an application, please contact Housing Advice Services.

If you are having difficulty meeting rental payments contact your landlord to discuss your situation and a rent repayment plan may be  agreeable to reduce the level of rent owed at this time and or an arrears repayment plan.

Please contact Housing Advice Services on how to make a plan.

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