Your rights as a renter during the COVID-19 crisis
This article was last updated at 10.50am on 11 September 2020.
The coronavirus outbreak has caused a lot of uncertainty for many of us. If you’re a renter, you might be feeling particularly vulnerable – what happens if you can’t pay your rent due to a sudden loss of income?
Can I be evicted?
Most tenants can't be evicted right now. On 10 September it was announced that notice periods must be increased to six months until at least the end of March 2021. The same legislation has also brought in a "truce on enforcement over Christmas" – meaning that landlords can't evict their tenants in the run up and over Christmas, unless it's in serious circumstances (e.g. the tenant/s have demonstrated anti-social behaviour or committed fraud).
The Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick also confirmed that evictions cannot be enforced by bailiffs in any area in a local lockdown that includes a restriction on gatherings in homes.
What to do if you can't pay your rent
If you’re a tenant having difficulty with rent payments, have a chat with your landlord as soon as possible to explain the situation – don't just stop paying your rent. You can refer them to this gov.uk advice, which details exactly what relief is being offered to protect both renters and landlords affected by coronavirus.
The government have revised their advice on moving house from 13 May 2020 – this means you can now move home if you wish to do so, but the process will need to be adapted to remain safe, limit face to face contact between different households, and ensure the risk of COVID-19 spreading is reduced as much as possible.
All parties involved should be as flexible as possible over this period and be prepared to delay moves if someone becomes ill during the process, or has to self isolate. The government are also recommending that initial viewings take place virtually for now. If you have to have any face-to-face contact with anyone outside your household during the moving process, you must maintain a 2 metre distance where possible and wash your hands frequently.
- If your move is essential, read the latest government guidance on moving during the coronavirus outbreak
- If you can delay your move, read our tips for how to keep your house hunt going during this time
Video can be a great way of conducting virtual viewings or chatting to potential flatmates. You can also upload a video to your ad.
Although we endeavour to keep our coronavirus (COVID-19) content as accurate and as up to date as possible, the situation is rapidly changing, so please ensure you refer to gov.uk for the latest advice and information.