Private renting? Advice is available
If you are in need of support or help:
Paying your rent and bills
- If you’re struggling or can see you are going to soon; speak to your landlord or letting agent urgently and be upfront about your financial situation
- It’s important to pay all or as much of your rent as possible; any arrears accrued will still be owed
- There may be assistance to temporarily reduce the rent with a repayment plan to pay off the arrears over an agreed period
- If you’re struggling to pay your gas or electric you may be entitled to financial assistance – speak to your supplier for reduced bills or debt repayments
Job loss and financial difficulties
- If you have lost your job or have a reduction in hours you may be entitled to benefits. Use a benefits calculator to find out what you could be entitled to
- Report any changes in circumstances to housing benefit or Universal Credits immediately
- Apply for a discretionary housing payment (if you are already in receipt of UC or HB). These are extra payments to assist you with rent, in the short-term
Eviction notices - Extension of the minimum notice period
For notices served between 26 March 2020 and 28 August 2020 inclusive, the minimum notice period was three months.
For notices served between 29 August 2020 and 31 May 2021 inclusive, the minimum notice period is six months, unless exceptions apply.
However, there are some serious cases such as anti-social behaviour, domestic violence and arrears over 6 months unpaid rent where landlords are able to start progressing within a shorter timeframe, the government has produced guidance for both landlords and tenants (under Section 1.8)
Legislation is in place to ensure bailiffs do not serve eviction notices, except in the most serious circumstances, (see above). This legislation will be in place until at least 31 May 2021 and will be kept under review.
As part of the new court arrangements put in place following the end of the stay on possessions, tenants will have access to free legal advice from the Housing Possession Court Duty Scheme (HPCDS) on the Review day.
The government is funding the Society of Mediators to pilot a new service as part of the possession process to support landlords and tenants to resolve disputes before the substantive hearing. If both parties agree and the case is considered suitable, the case will be referred for the free mediation service.
The Society of Mediators will contact the tenant and landlord to arrange a suitable time for the mediation to take place, providing an opportunity to reach an agreement that best suits them.
If an agreement is reached during mediation, then the mediator will ask both parties to sign an agreement and will inform the court of the outcome. If an agreement is not reached, then the substantive hearing will take place on the date specified. Agreeing to mediation will not make the court possession process any longer.
Your Letting Agent/Landlord:
- Any non-essential entries to your home should be postponed following Government advice
- For any urgent health and safety issues within your property, social distancing guidelines must be followed by yourself, other tenants, landlord and anyone carrying out the repairs
- If you have arranged for any repayments or reduced rent rates; get this in writing
- Landlords still have a responsibility for repairs and safety checks; but these can be re-arranged for a future date