See GOV.UK for the government response to the coronavirus outbreak.

See the NHS website for health advice. 

Information on this page

The page is updated regularly. Last update 20 Mar 2020


Eviction

Can my landlord evict me straight away because of coronavirus?

It's illegal for your landlord to evict you without following the proper steps.

Illegal eviction is a criminal offence - coronavirus doesn't change this.

It's likely to be an illegal eviction if your landlord:

  • makes you leave without notice or a court order
  • locks you out of your home, even temporarily

You can get help from the council or the court if your landlord prevents you accessing your home.

What if I'm a lodger?

Your landlord still needs to follow the correct process even if you live with them.

They don't need to go to court but you're usually entitled to notice before you can be made to leave.

What if I've had notice from my landlord?

You should stay in your home.

Evictions take time and you don’t have to leave at the end of your notice under current law.

The government have also announced a new law that is expected to come in very soon.

Landlords won’t be able to take you to court for eviction for at least 3 months.

What if my landlord has already applied to court?

It isn't clear whether evictions will still go ahead if your landlord has already applied to court.

Courts are staying open for the moment in line with government guidance.

If you have a hearing you can expect it to go ahead unless your county court tells you of a change.

The court may arrange a phone or video hearing.

If you are self isolating, then you should not attend. Contact your court to let them know of your situation.

 

Rent payment problems

I'm worried about rent arrears. What should I do?

Speak to your landlord if you're struggling to pay rent. 

They could be sympathetic especially if you've lost your job or seen your income reduce suddenly.  

They might agree to a rent reduction or to accept rent late. Get any agreement in writing.

Buy to let landlords may get mortgage payment holidays if their tenants have financial problems due to coronavirus.  

Find out more about how to deal with rent arrears.

 

Mortgage arrears and repossession

I'm worried about mortgage arrears. What should I do?

Mortgage lenders have announced they won't apply to court to repossess homeowners for 3 months starting from 19 March.

They will also allow a 3 month payment holiday for those struggling to cover their mortgage because of coronavirus.

Be aware that this option may mean your monthly mortgage payment goes up after the payment holiday ends.

Check if you have insurance that will cover your mortgage payments instead. For example, mortgage payment protection insurance or through your current account.

Some mortgage providers are introducing other support for customers whose income is affected by the coronavirus outbreak. These may include:

  • no fees for late payments
  • switching to a lower interest rate

Speak to your lender to find out what support they're offering.

Read our guide on how to deal with mortgage arrears.

 

Income and benefits

I need to claim benefits. Where do I start?

You could qualify for benefits or statutory sick pay if you lose your job or can't work because you're sick or self isolating.

You could also get benefits if your pay goes down because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Find out more about what you can claim on the entitledto website

Can I apply for universal credit during the coronavirus outbreak?

Use the entitledto benefits calculator to check what you can claim before you apply - there are sometimes better options.

You can apply for universal credit on GOV.UK

Contact Citizens Advice if you need help with the online process.

Call the universal credit helpline on 0800 328 5644 if you:

  • can't apply online
  • need a universal credit advance
  • can't access your universal credit account once you've set it up

You can usually get a universal credit advance within a few days if you can't wait 5 weeks for your first payment. An advance must usually be repaid over the next year.  

Jobcentres are still open at the moment.

You won't have to attend Jobcentre Plus or medical assessments for at least the next 3 months due to the outbreak.

I get some housing benefit but now I've lost my job. How can I pay my rent?

You should report the change to the housing benefit department at the council. 

Your benefit will usually increase if you report an income drop promptly.

Sometimes you might need to move on to universal credit instead.

Read our guide on dealing with housing benefit changes

Apply for a discretionary housing payment if you get either:

  • housing benefit  
  • universal credit housing element

Landlord access to your home

Can my letting agent still go ahead with visits and inspections?

Tell your agent if you don't want unnecessary visits to your home at this time.

They should agree to postpone non essential visits such as:

Tell your agent if you can't allow access because you're self isolating. You don't have to give them details of your health.

What if I need repairs or a gas safety check is due?

Landlords have the same responsibilities for repairs during the coronavirus outbreak.

You should report repairs by phone, email or online.

You must tell your landlord if you're self isolating. They might not be able to get the problem fixed during the usual timescales but shouldn't delay repairs unreasonably.

Annual gas safety checks remain an important legal requirement. Your landlord should rearrange a gas safety check if you're self isolating.

Read about access to your rented home for repairs.

 

Moving out

Can I leave my tenancy early because of coronavirus?

You can only end a fixed term tenancy early if either: 

  • your contract has a break clause
  • you negotiate an early end to the agreement with your landlord

If you want to leave as soon as possible you'll probably have to negotiate.

Your landlord may be sympathetic to your request to leave if they understand your reasons. For example, if you need to move urgently because you or a family member are sick or need support.

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