Housing advice: coronavirus (COVID-19)

Most evictions of tenants and homeowners remain on hold until after 31 May 2021 except in limited circumstances.

The government intends to lift the eviction ban after that date.

Most tenants are entitled to 6 months' notice before court action can start under coronavirus rules.

Landlords are still responsible for repairs and safety checks. You can ask them to delay work if you're self isolating, shielding or if the repairs could wait.

Last updated 26 April 2021

Information on this page

Eviction and being asked to leave

Most evictions remain paused until after 31 May

All section 21 evictions are on hold until after this date.

Your landlord can still give you notice, and court action can go ahead but you can’t be evicted by bailiffs.

horizontal line showing the three stages of eviction - notice, court action and eviction by bailiffs in chronological order. the last part of the line is red to show that this part of the eviction process is on hold.

If you get letters from the court open them. You still need to attend a hearing if there is one. Our Section 21 eviction guide explains more.

Some evictions can still go ahead. For example, if:

  • you have more than 6 months' rent arrears

  • there's been antisocial behaviour

It can only happen if the court has already made an order and you're not self isolating or extremely clinically vulnerable.

The eviction ban does not apply to lodgers.

Notice periods

Most tenants must get 6 months' notice before court action starts.

This includes all section 21 notices and most other eviction notices given since 29 August 2020.

You could be given 4 weeks' notice if:

  • you have more than 6 months' rent arrears

  • you're facing eviction for antisocial behaviour

Notices from before 29 August could still be valid depending on the notice type and when your landlord starts court action.

Check the notice rules for your situation.

How long will eviction take?

For most tenants it will take several months to a year.

It depends on:

  • how much notice you should get

  • where you are in the process

  • how quickly courts are dealing with cases in your area

There are 3 stages to eviction:

  1. notice

  2. court action

  3. eviction by bailiffs

It's a good idea to start looking for somewhere else to live but you don't have to leave until the very end of the process.

You have from the time your landlord sends you a notice to the date the bailiffs attend to find somewhere to live.

Evictions will take longer if your landlords sends you an invalid notice or doesn't apply to court in time.

What if my landlord pressures me to leave?

You can and should stay in your home, especially if you have nowhere else to stay.

It's illegal for your landlord to:

  • harass you

  • lock you out of your home, even temporarily

  • make you leave without notice or a court order

Don't be pressured into signing documents from the landlord that contain a date for you to leave.

If your landlord is pressuring you to leave because they want to sell the property or move in themselves, you could try and negotiate a payment to leave early.

Landlord access and repairs

Landlords have the same responsibilities for repairs during coronavirus but there may be delays in getting work done.

Unless you're self isolating the following can still take place:

Your landlord must give you notice of any visits. They shouldn't just turn up.

The government's coronavirus guidance for landlords and tenants explains more.

Can I refuse access if I'm worried?

If you don't want people in your home, talk to your landlord. You could ask for any non urgent work to be postponed if:

  • minor repairs could wait

  • you're at higher risk from coronavirus

If you're self isolating, no one should come into your home unless it's to fix a serious problem that puts you at direct risk of harm.

Landlords and contractors must follow public health guidance about working safely in people's homes and social distancing.

Find out more about access to your home and when you can refuse.

What about home viewings?

You don't have to allow viewings if it's not mentioned in your tenancy agreement.

If your contract says you must allow viewings, discuss your concerns with the landlord or agent. For example, if you're at higher risk from coronavirus.

You could offer to show the property to new tenants through a virtual viewing on your phone. Or you could arrange to be out when a viewing takes place.

Government guidance says that tenants' safety should be the first priority. Viewings should only happen where you're leaving the tenancy voluntarily, or have already moved out.

Viewings must not take place if anyone in your home is self isolating.

Money and rent problems

Mortgage payment holidays have ended

The mortgage payment holiday schemes ended for new applications on 31 March.

If you are struggling with your mortgage payments, you should be offered tailored support by your lender.

Find out more about how to deal with mortgage arrears.

Money problems

You may qualify for a £500 single payment if you're losing income because you have to self isolate and you can't work from home.

Test and Trace Support Payments are made by local councils. Your council may have other emergency assistance on their website.

Find out how to apply for a Test and Trace Support Payment on GOV.UK

Problems paying your rent

Speak to your landlord about your situation. They could be sympathetic and might accept late rent or agree a rent reduction.

Use our template letter to help negotiate a rent reduction.

You should also:

If you are a council or housing association tenant, your landlord should contact you when you fall into arrears and offer support to claim.

If you're renting privately, you should look for somewhere more affordable to stop debt building up. But you have the right to live in your home without disturbance even if you owe rent.

Find out how to get help with rent.

My landlord is asking for backdated rent after we agreed a reduction

Make sure you check any text messages, emails or letters to see what was agreed.

If it's not clear that your landlord agreed to write off any of the unpaid rent, you will have to try and agree an affordable repayment plan.

Can my landlord increase my rent?

There are no coronavirus rules that will stop your landlord from increasing your rent. But they have to follow the correct process.

Find out more about rent increases.

Help if you become homeless

Nowhere safe to self isolate?

Contact the council's homeless team by phone if any of the following apply:

  • you have symptoms of coronavirus

  • you've tested positive for coronavirus

  • you've been told to self isolate by NHS staff or a council officer

Can I get emergency housing if I need to leave my home?

The council usually have to provide emergency housing if they think you have nowhere safe to stay and that you may be in priority need.

You're likely to be in priority need if you're at higher risk of serious illness from coronavirus because of your age or underlying health conditions.

Check who's at higher risk on the NHS website.

Other factors such as dependant children or pregnancy can also mean you're in priority need.

Find out who qualifies for emergency housing and how to apply.

What if the council won't help?

You may have to stay with friends or family in the short term.

The council must look into your situation and help you find somewhere to live, even if you don't qualify for emergency housing.

Read our guide to find out more about:

  • how the council must help in your situation

  • what you can do if they get things wrong

You could search for hostels on Homeless Link if you're sofa surfing or running out of options.

What if I'm already on the streets or sleeping rough?

You could contact Streetlink or ask someone else to do this for you.

Streetlink can pass your location and description to local outreach teams who may be able to help you access emergency housing, hostels or other support.

If you need to talk to someone, we'll do our best to help

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