Coronavirus and rent payments

Coronavirus and rent payments

Keeping up with rent payments

As part of their package to protect renters, the Government has introduced a series of temporary changes and restrictions on landlords regaining possession of their property during the coronavirus pandemic.

These include:

  • Initially extending the minimum notice period to three months before proceedings for possession can take place and with effect from 29 August 2020 extending the minimum notice period to six months (in most cases)
  • Suspending all ongoing housing possession action (where possession proceedings started before the new regulations were introduced) for an initial 90 days, however since suspended until 30 September 2020. 

 

We appreciate this is a difficult time for tenants, particularly people employed on zero hour contracts, or those who have lost their jobs or been furloughed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

However all tenants are still liable for rent and you should continue to pay this as usual. Rent is a priority debt and you could be at risk of eviction if you do not pay. Do not put your home at risk.


Advice and guidance

This is a challenging time for everyone, but it will come to an end, so if you are struggling it is important to take action now to ensure you don't face possession action when things return to normal.


Pay your rent from Universal Credit or Housing Benefit 

If you are struggling to pay your rent, you can ask to have your Universal Credit or Housing Benefit paid directly to your landlord. Universal Credit legislation has changed in response to Covid-19 and some legacy benefits have been affected. Information on this can be found at www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk


Social housing tenants

If you are a tenant of a registered social landlord, please get in touch with them if you are having any difficulties paying your rent. They will be able to provide you with extra support with debt, budgeting and any issues you are having with benefits.


Private rented sector

If you rent your home privately, we would urge you to contact your landlord or letting agent if you are struggling to pay your rent. Do not ignore letters from your landlord. Early conversations will benefit both you and your landlord. Speak to them about your situation and work together to agree an affordable repayment plan if you have fallen into rent arrears.


Check your benefit entitlement

Check your benefit entitlement and help to maximise your income by using one of these online calculators: 

Our Benefits Team will also be able to advise whether you qualify for additional help such as Discretionary Housing Payments or the Hardship Fund, while our Housing Options Team can give you advice and make referrals to enable you to access the support you need.

  

Additional advice and support

 

Information for private landlords

We appreciate that there may have been difficulties with the tenancies you provide and are concerned that both your situation and that of your tenant may have worsened, particularly for those on zero hour contracts, or who have lost jobs or been furloughed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

We would like to avoid, wherever possible, the need for you to serve notice, or the need to continue any suspended possession action once the courts resume service.

Things will return to normal one day and court possession actions will resume.  All tenants are still liable for rent and we will be reminding those we can of the importance of making their rental payments. We will encourage them to speak to you at the earliest opportunity to discuss their situation and see if you can work together to agree an affordable repayment plan.  

This is a challenging time for everyone and wherever possible we would welcome the opportunity to work with both you and your tenants to achieve a good outcome. 

The Council offers a range of packages designed to prevent homelessness, such as referrals for support, debt and benefit advice and in some cases are able to consider financial assistance to help assist in clearing rent arrears. We appreciate your concerns as a landlord awaiting income from the rental payments and would welcome the opportunity to assist you and your tenant through these difficult times to achieve a good outcome for all.

If you would like to get in touch with us about this, please email homechoice@daventrydc.gov.uk or phone us on 01327 871100 and ask for Housing Options