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Coronavirus update for tenants

Information about paying rent, and inspecting properties during the COVID-19 outbreak

The impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Our Housing Teams are having to work differently because of the impact of COVID-19. Please bear with us as we work hard to try and make sure that essential work continues, and that the most vulnerable people in our communities get the help they need.

Inspecting properties

Inspecting properties and taking enforcement action may be affected by issues around resources or tenants having to maintain strict separation. Landlords may also find it harder to comply with their legal obligations for the same reason. It is vital that tenants, landlords and local authorities work together to keep rented properties safe.

Paying rent

If you're in financial difficulties, please speak to your landlord about your rent as soon as you can. Your landlord may have a mortgage on the property that is affected by your inability to pay. You can seek advice from Citizens Advice, Shelter, and the Money Advice Service.

The Government is advising landlords not to serve Notices Seeking Possession during these difficult times.

The Coronavirus Act 2020 came into force on 26 March 2020. It relates to a range of matters associated with the COVID-19 outbreak. It has temporarily changed some other legislation. From 27 March 2020 possession hearings in court were suspended for 90 days. And the suspension has since been extended by the Government to the 23 August.

Notices Seeking Possession served on or after 27 March 2020 under the Housing Act 1988 Section 21 and Section 8 have been amended to reflect the current situation and must give tenants a minimum of three months’ notice, not the usual two. A landlord would still need a court order to make their tenant move, but eviction hearings will not be heard in courts until the end of August.

Any notices served before that date are unaffected by this emergency legislation and will remain as two months’ notice. But as court hearings have been suspended until 23 August, existing possession proceedings against tenants and licensees (covered by the Protection of Eviction Act 1977) cannot progress. Even when courts resume it is likely that possession proceedings will not go ahead if there is evidence that there is a public health risk. For example, if someone has nowhere to move to.

Your landlord cannot evict you because s/he suspects you have coronavirus. Correct procedures must be followed if s/he wants you to leave your home. Illegal eviction is a criminal offence - coronavirus doesn't change this.

Contact us or Shelter if you feel you're being harassed. Renters should, where possible, delay moving to a new house while measures are in place to fight coronavirus.

Further information

We urge all tenants and landlords to abide by the latest Government guidance on COVID-19, which can be found at GOV.UK - Coronavirus. And you can find further specific information in the GOV.UK landlord and tenant guidance document.