The government has updated its guidance for people who rent or own their home and are struggling as a result of the Covid-19 crisis and the government policies and consequences for businesses and jobs.

You can read the guidance in full here.

Below is a summary of the key points:

  • From 26 March 2020 landlords will have to give all renters 3 months’ notice if they intend to seek possession (i.e. serve notice that they want to end the tenancy). This means the landlord can’t apply to start the court process until after this period. This will apply in law until 30 September 2020. The end point and the three month notice period can be extended if needed.
  • This protection covers most tenants in the private and social rented sectors in England and Wales, and all grounds of evictions.
  • After three months if the tenant has not moved a landlord needs to apply to court in order to proceed.
  • From 27 March 2020 the court service will suspend all eviction proceedings currently going through court or about to go to court. This suspension will initially last for 90 days, but this can be extended if needed. This measure will protect all private and social renters, as well as those with mortgages and those with licenses covered by the Protection from Eviction Act 1977. This will apply to both England and Wales.
  • This is NOT an automatic rent holiday. Tenants are still liable for their rent and mortgage holders for their mortgages. You should pay rent or mortgage if you can and seek advice and help if you can’t.
  • There is financial help available from other schemes, including schemes specifically created to respond to the impact of the Covid-19 crisis. You can read more about them on other pages on this blog.
  • If you are struggling with rent or mortgage payments you should talk to your landlord or mortgage provider. Some landlords and mortgage providers have said they will consider reductions in payments or deferred payments.
  • Buy-to-let mortgage holders are also entitled to a three month deferred payment if their tenant is deferring rent as a result of the Covid-19 crisis and landlords should approach their mortgage provider for advice about this.

I’ve received briefings from banks about the provisions they are making to assist people with mortgage payments and other debts. You should talk to your bank at the earliest opportunity if you are struggling to pay your mortgage.

Shelter has updated their housing advice pages for managing your rent or mortgage during this crisis.

If you are planning on moving home in the next few weeks you will need to review your plans as the new government guidance is NOT to move home except in very specific circumstances. You can read more about this here.

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