Housing advice: coronavirus (COVID-19)

Last updated 14 September 2021

Information on this page

Eviction and being asked to leave

Notice periods

Protections for renters are ending.

From 1 October, 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 facing eviction because of rent arrears.

What are the notice rules right now?

Until 30 September 2021 you must be given:

  • 2 months' notice if you have less than 4 months' arrears

  • 4 weeks' notice if you owe 4 months' rent or more

All section 21 notices must still give at least 4 months' notice at the moment.

What if I got my notice earlier in the pandemic?

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 if you've had the right amount of notice

  • find out if your landlord can still use the notice

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 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 7 days' notice.

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

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 shouldn't just turn up.

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

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.

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

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.

What about viewings at the end of my tenancy?

You don't have to allow viewings while you're still living there unless it's mentioned in your tenancy agreement.

Discuss your concerns with the landlord or agent if your contract says you must allow viewings.

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.

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 2021.

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 might accept late rent or agree a rent reduction.

Use our template letter to help negotiate a rent reduction.

You should also:

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, try and agree an affordable repayment plan.

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?

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