Guidance for tenants during the Coronavirus outbreak

Housing Law Specialist, Marie Busfield, gives advice to tenants during the Coronovirus outbreak in order to make sure you understand your rights and responsibilities.

As a tenant, should I stop paying rent during the pandemic?

Rent levels agreed in your tenancy agreement remain legally due and you should discuss with your landlord if you are in difficulty.

What if I can’t afford to pay my rent?

If your income has reduced and you are struggling to meet your rent repayments you should inform your landlord and continue to pay what rent you can as this will prevent some rent arrears building.

You should apply for any relevant benefits and credits to increase your income and help you to pay your rent.

The following benefit calculators may help you to see if you are able to make a claim https://www.gov.uk/benefits-calculators

You should also, see what support you may be entitled to with bills, and Council Tax or whether there are any grants that you could claim.  It is important to speak to people to see what help is available.

What if my landlord pressures me to leave?

Your landlord can serve you a notice seeking possession asking you to leave.  If you receive this notice you should seek advice.

It is important to get legal advice before giving up your home voluntarily, even if eviction seems unavoidable.

Make contact with Howells as soon as possible if you believe your landlord is acting unlawful.

Can my landlord evict me?

Your landlord can still give you notice or start court action during national lock down but the whole process will take much longer. Also no evictions by bailiffs will take place during the national lock down except in very limited circumstances. All section 21 notices from 29 August onwards must give at least 6 months’ notice.

What can I do about rent arrears?

An early conversation between you and your landlord may help you to agree a repayment plan. However be cautious not to agree to repay an amount that you cannot afford.  If in doubt seek advice.

Will my repairs still be carried out?

Repairs to your home can be carried out however Government social distance measures must be in place.

Provided you are not self-isolating or unwell you should allow local authorities, landlords or contractors to access your home in order to carry out a range of works.

This includes:

  • routine inspections, including annual gas safety checks
  • essential and non-essential repairs and maintenance
  • planned maintenance activity inside and outside the home

However, if you are self-isolating, no work should be carried out in your home unless it is to remedy a direct risk that affects their safety or the safety of their household.

If your landlord is refusing to carry out repairs to your home you can contact us for further advice.

You can find detailed guidance from the Government here: Guidance for landlords and tenants.

You can contact Howells Solicitors for impartial advice from our specialist Housing team by emailing [email protected], visit our website or call us:

Sheffield: 0114 249 66 66

Barnsley: 0122 680 51 90

Rotherham: 0170 936 40 00

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