New protections for renters national restrictions 2 - November 2020 updates
Coronavirus support for tenants
As of 5 November 2020, tenants have once again been protected during the national restrictions with no bailiff enforcement action until 11 January 2021 at the earliest except for the worst cases including anti-social behaviour.
Six month notice periods still in place until at least the end of March 2021, except for most serious cases.
Most renters can now stay in their homes until May 2021, with time to find alternative support or accommodation.
Courts will remain open through the new national restrictions. Court rules and procedures introduced in September will ensure protections for both tenants and landlords. These include the strict prioritisation of cases, such as those involving anti-social behaviour, fraud, illegal occupation, domestic abuse in social housing only and where a property is unoccupied due to the death of a tenant.
Protection from eviction does not apply in these circumstances. Importantly, the UK government intends to introduce and exemption for extreme pre-Covid19 rent arrears.
Coronavirus support for landlords
Tenants should continue to pay rent and abide by all other terms of their tenancy agreement to the best of their ability. The government has made a strong package of financial support available to tenants, and where they can pay the rent as normal, they should do. Tenants who are unable to do so should speak to their landlord at the earliest opportunity.
If tenants fall into financial difficulties due to a change in their employment or earnings, for example, they may qualify for Universal Credit. Find more information about Universal Credit.
Local authorities can provide support for tenants to stay in their homes. If tenants are experiencing financial hardship, they may be able to access new funding; the UK government has made £500 million available to fund households experiencing financial hardship and are determined to take action to support people in need.
For those renters who require additional support, there is an existing £180 million of government funding for Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) accessible through the ECDC housing team to distribute to help people with rent payments in the private and social rented sectors. Contact the Housing team on 01353 665555 to see if you are eligible for this support.
If a tenant is worried about being unable to pay their rent, or if landlords become aware of tenants who may be in difficulty, advice is available from specialist providers such as Shelter, Housing & Community Advice team at ECDC on 01353 665555 and the Money Advice Service. If they are eligible for Legal Aid, they can also contact Civil Legal Advice for free and confidential advice.
If tenants are worried about being evicted and not having anywhere else to go, they should speak to the housing team on 01353 665555. The most up to date advice is available at:
Notices and Health and Safety obligations
There are new measures in place for notices seeking possession and health and safety obligations;
1) Measures relating to notices seeking possession as amended by the Coronavirus Act 2020
The UK government has published new guidance for landlords and tenants on the possession action process through the courts
2) Health and safety obligations, repairs and inspections in the context of coronavirus (COVID-19)
Landlords can take steps to carry out repairs and safety inspections throughout the country under new national restrictions, which begin in England from 5 November provided these are undertaken in line with public health advice and the relevant coronavirus (COVID-19) legislation.
After the national restrictions have been lifted, then landlords can take steps to carry out repairs and safety inspections across all local COVID alert levels (tiers) provided these are undertaken in line with public health advice and the relevant coronavirus (COVID-19) legislation. However, you should check for further local restrictions in your area