Housing advice: coronavirus (COVID-19)

Last updated 23 December 2021

Information on this page

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

Councils have extra money to help people sleeping rough during the pandemic.

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.

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

Find out who qualifies for emergency housing and how to apply.

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

The council should help with emergency housing even if you don't usually qualify for help. For example, because you don't meet the 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.

Eviction and being asked to leave

Notice periods are now shorter

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 a tenant or renter facing eviction.

What if I got my notice before 1 October?

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 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 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).

Test and Trace support payments

You may qualify for a £500 single payment if you've lost income because you or your child must self isolate and you can't work from home.

Test and Trace support payments are made by local councils. Your council may have other hardship schemes or local welfare assistance on their website.

Find out how to apply for a Test and Trace support payment on GOV.UK

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.

Mortgage payment holidays have ended

The mortgage payment holiday schemes ended for new applications on 31 March 2021.

Find out how to deal with mortgage arrears.

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.

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

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