Housing advice: coronavirus (COVID-19)

Last updated 21 May 2021

Information on this page

Eviction and being asked to leave

The eviction ban ended on 1 June

Court bailiffs can carry out evictions if your case has reached this stage.

You will get 2 weeks' notice of an eviction date.

Bailiffs will not evict if you let them know that you or anyone you live with has:

  • coronavirus symptoms

  • tested positive for coronavirus

  • been told to self isolate by the NHS

Contact the bailiffs as soon as you know you must self isolate. Their contact details are on the notice of eviction. You can also tell the bailiffs on the day.

The eviction should be rescheduled and you will get another 2 weeks' notice.

There may be other situations where you can stop or delay an eviction.

Notices get shorter from 1 June

Most tenants will still be entitled to at least 4 months' notice before court action can start.

A section 21 must give at least 4 months' notice if it's received on or after 1 June 2021.

Most other eviction notices must also give at least 4 months' notice but there are some situations where your landlord can give a much shorter notice. For example, high rent arrears or antisocial behaviour.

Check the notice rules for your situation.

What if I have rent arrears?

You're entitled to 4 months' notice if you can keep your arrears below 4 months.

Pay your full rent if you can and try to agree a repayment arrangement with your landlord.

From 1 June, your landlord can give just 4 weeks' notice if you owe 4 months' rent or more.

This means they could apply to court much sooner.

Breathing Space is a new scheme that can help tenants with rent arrears. It pauses the eviction process for up to 60 days while you get debt advice.

Find out if you qualify for breathing space

What if I got my notice before 1 June 2021?

Your notice could still be valid.

Notice periods have changed several times because of coronavirus and your landlord had to follow the rules in place when they gave you notice.

Find out about the eviction process and the notice rules during the pandemic if you're a:

How long is the eviction process?

The eviction process takes several months.

There are 3 stages:

  1. notice

  2. court action

  3. eviction by bailiffs

It may be possible to stop or delay the process, especially if you're a council or housing association tenant.

If you rent privately, it may not be possible to stay in your home long term but the eviction process still takes time.

Many private renters use their notice period to find somewhere else to live and leave the property when the notice ends.

But your tenancy continues if you stay past the end of the notice. Only court bailiffs can evict you from your home.

What if my landlord pressures me to leave?

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

You can ask the council for help if you're struggling to find somewhere else to live.

The council must help if you're facing pressure to leave from a landlord or agent, or if your section 21 notice ends in the next 8 weeks.

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 that contain a date for you to leave.

If your landlord wants 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

Get help