The government has announced new measures to protect tenants in England until at least January 2021.
Editorial Team | 24th November, 2020
The Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has advised that said that while current national Coronavirus restrictions remain in place, bailiffs should not take enforcement action against tenants who have been served a notice of eviction.
These measures are an addition to other rules already in place to protect tenants who are struggling as a result of the coronavirus.
Earlier this year the government passed the Coronavirus Act, which among other things, made it illegal for landlords to evict renters for a specified amount of time.
This means that tenants must be given a notice period of a minimum of six months before any eviction action can be taken. This applies to notices served in England, Scotland and Wales until at least the end of March 2021.
There are only a few exceptions to this, including cases involving anti-social behavior or domestic abuse.
For renters who need additional support, there is an existing £180 million of government funding for Discretionary Housing Payments for councils to support renters with their housing costs.
What happens if a tenant is struggling to pay the rent?
The best thing for tenants to do is speak with their landlords as soon as possible to explain their situation and attempt to set up a feasible plan. The government has said that it’s important landlords offer support and understanding to tenants who may start to see their income fluctuate. There is no specific plan that a landlord needs to agree to, so it’s important that tenants, letting agents, and landlords work together to find solutions that will work for everyone.
If you’re a tenant, it’s also worth speaking with your local authority, as there may be help available for you.
I’m a landlord, and my tenant is causing problems. What are my options?
There simply is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach to this. Landlords are urged to, where possible, work collaboratively with their tenants to come to mutual agreements.
Whether you have an issue with rent arrears or anti-social behaviour, because there may be a backlog of eviction cases in the pipeline, it’s possible landlords will not be able to gain possession of their properties for a while.
One option is to consider mediation. Organisations such as the Property Redress Scheme and The Property Ombudsman offer mediation services between landlords and tenants to aid finding a resolution over issues which have arisen during a tenancy.
Mediation is a voluntary, impartial and confidential process, which allows disputes to be resolved much quicker and with less cost than going through courts.