Housing advice: coronavirus (COVID-19)

Last updated 11 March 2022

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Help if you become homeless

Nowhere safe to self isolate?

Contact the council's homeless team by phone if you've tested positive for coronavirus.

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 may be in priority need if you're at high risk from coronavirus because of age or underlying health conditions.

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

Find out who can get for emergency housing and how to apply.

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

The council may help with emergency housing even if you cannot usually get help. For example, because of immigration conditions.

You could also 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.

Landlord access and repairs

Landlords have the same responsibilities for repairs.

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

Your landlord must give you notice of any visits. They should not just turn up.

Can I refuse access if I'm self isolating?

Public health guidance says you should:

  • stay at home and avoid contact with others if you have coronavirus

  • postpone all non essential repairs that need a home visit

The legal requirement to self isolate when you have coronavirus ended on 24 February 2022 but you should still follow public health guidance.

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.

See GOV.UK guidance on repairs and maintenance work during coronavirus.

Can I refuse access if I'm worried?

You could ask your landlord to delay any non urgent repairs or inspections. 

For example, if you:

  • are at higher risk from coronavirus

  • expect to get your vaccine or booster soon

Landlords, agents and contractors should not come in without your permission.

But it could put your health at risk or break the rules of your tenancy agreement if you refuse access for important repairs or safety checks.

Read more about access to your rented home for repairs and inspections.

You could explain your health concerns to your landlord and agree steps to minimise contact if someone needs to come into your home. 

What about viewings at the end of my tenancy?

Check what your tenancy agreement says about access for viewings.

You do not have to agree to viewings while you still live there unless your agreement says you must allow this.

If your agreement says you must allow viewings, you could:

  • discuss any concerns with your landlord

  • arrange to be out when the viewing takes place

  • offer to show the property to new tenants with a virtual viewing on your phone

Tell the landlord or agent if you've agreed to a viewing but then need to self isolate because of coronavirus. The viewing should be postponed.

Eviction and being asked to leave

From 1 October 2021 all section 21 notices must give at least 2 months' notice.

If you have rent arrears, you could be given just 2 weeks' notice.

Find out what to do if you're a tenant or renter facing eviction.

What if I got my notice before 1 October 2021?

The notice rules have changed several times during coronavirus.

Many notices from earlier in the pandemic are still valid. Some will have expired.

Use our coronavirus notice checker to:

  • check you've had the right amount of notice

  • find out if your landlord can still use the notice

  • get information on what happens next

You can use the checker for any notice given since 26 March 2020.

How long does the eviction process take?

Eviction is a legal process that can take several months from when you get a notice.

Sometimes an eviction can be prevented. For example, if your notice is not valid or if you can agree a repayment plan for rent arrears.

Find out about the eviction process if you're a:

What if my landlord pressures me to leave?

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

Pressure to leave your tenancy before it ends legally is harassment.

Read our guide on how to deal with harassment from landlords or agents.

What if the bailiffs are coming?

You will get 2 weeks' notice of an eviction date if your case has reached this stage.

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

  • is self isolating

  • has coronavirus symptoms

  • has tested positive for coronavirus

Contact the bailiffs as soon as you know you need to 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 at least another 7 days' notice.

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

Money and rent problems

Universal credit can help with rent

If your hours have gone down or you've lost your job, you may be able to get universal credit.

It includes a housing element to help with rent.

Find out how to apply for universal credit.

Discretionary housing payments (DHPs)

You should apply for a DHP if you get universal credit or housing benefit but you're still struggling with your rent.

DHPs are extra payments from your council. They can help pay the shortfall between your benefits and your rent.

Find out how to apply for discretionary housing payment (DHPs).

Emergency grants and loans

You could get an emergency grant or loan through:

  • a council welfare assistance scheme

  • another type of hardship fund

Find emergency grants, loans and money help.

Speak to your landlord about payment problems

Some landlords might accept late rent or agree a temporary rent reduction, especially if the problems are likely to be short term.

For example, if you've lost your job but are starting a new one soon.

Use our template letter to help negotiate a rent reduction.

If your landlord asks for backdated rent after a reduction

Check any text messages, emails or letters to see what was agreed.

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

Find out how to deal with rent arrears.

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

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