Tenants and landlords
The Council is continuing to be supportive of tenants and landlords during the COVID-19 pandemic while meeting its legal duties to maintain appropriate standards in rented properties. You can find up to date information on the COVID-19 situation at GOV.UK.
The government's advice is to "stay alert" This means you must:
- stay at home as much as possible
- work from home if you can
- limit contact with other people
- keep your distance from people not in your household (2 metres apart where possible)
- wash your hands regularly
- Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms
You can visit the NHS COVID-19 web page for more information on symptoms, how to protect yourself, and what to do if you think you have COVID-19.
Can I contact my landlord about repairs needed in my home?
Landlords are still required to carry out essential works. These include:
- water supply
- safe electricity and gas supplies
- fire safety
- drainage problems
- pest control
- heating failure
Landlords, their representatives and tradespeople are expected to follow government advice on social distancing.
Non-essential work and repairs are not required according to current government guidance but you should still report any issues by telephone, email or online. Doing this means a record can be kept and the works carried out when the risk of COVID-19 has been reduced.
My landlord wants to come into the property – should I let them?
Landlords can only come into the property to carry out essential works (see above). Routine tenancy inspections, viewings towards the end of your tenancy and all non-essential work should not be taking place at the moment. Annual gas safety checks remain an important legal requirement and you should allow access for these if you are not self-isolating (see below).
My landlord wants to come into the property but I am self-isolating because of COVID-19 – can I refuse access?
If you are self-isolating you should avoid any visitors coming to your home. You should tell your landlord or agent that you are self- isolating. You do not need to give them details about your health. If an emergency repair is needed in a self-isolating household, you and your landlord should follow public health advice. An emergency repair could be:
- an electricity or gas cut off
- a severe water leak
- necessary to make your home safe or secure
Your landlord or the contractors must take the necessary precautions to keep everyone in the property safe.
Can I complain to the Council if my landlord will not deal with my repairs?
The Council is continuing to provide a complaint response service to tenants. The Council acknowledges the current limitations in terms of access and contractors, but expects landlords to carry out essential works as outlined above. Where necessary the Council will still take enforcement action if a landlord fails to carry out essential works.
Should my landlord still be cleaning the common parts of buildings that I share with other residents?
In some houses with multiple occupation, if the landlord is responsible for cleaning shared areas such as kitchens, bathrooms, hallways and stairs they should continue to be cleaned.
Landlords should ensure cleaners are following government guidance and wearing protective clothing such as disposable gloves and aprons. If residents in the property do not feel comfortable with this, they should speak to each other and their landlord or agent to agree on other arrangements. However, it is important that regular cleaning still takes place.
How can I protect myself in a shared house or flat?
You should refer to:
If you have been advised to self-isolate, wherever possible, you should separate yourself from other people in your household. You should minimise the time you spend in shared spaces such as kitchens, bathrooms and sitting areas and keep shared spaces well-ventilated. Ensure regular cleaning of shared spaces including all surfaces.
If you share a toilet and/or a bathroom, you should clean them and any surfaces you have touched after you have used them.
If you share a kitchen with others, avoid using it while others are present. If you have a dishwasher you should use it. If you should wash your crockery and cutlery using your usual washing up liquid and warm water, and dry them thoroughly using a separate tea towel.
You should not share your toothbrush or use another person's toothbrush. You should use separate eating and drinking utensils, dishes, drinks, towels, washcloths and bedlinen. Make sure you thoroughly clean the area you have used with an anti-bacterial cleaning fluid.
If you have your own garden you should keep two metres from other members of your household and any neighbours. If possible you should use the outside area separately.
Follow the NHS advice on how to stop germs spreading.
I am struggling to pay my rent because of COVID-19
You should speak to your landlord if you are struggling to pay your rent and seek to agree a rent reduction or a late payment of your rent. You should get any agreement in writing.
Buy-to-let landlords may be eligible for a mortgage payment holiday if their tenants have financial problems due to COVID-19.
If you are worried about paying your rent, mortgage or bills, or have other financial concerns as a result of the COVID-19 you can find further help and advice at:
Can my landlord evict me straight away as a result of COVID-19?
It is illegal for your landlord to evict you without following the correct procedure. Illegal eviction is a criminal offence and COVID-19 does not change this.
If you are an assured shorthold tenant your landlord cannot make you leave without giving you two months’ notice, and they must go to court to get a court order when the notice expires. If you do not leave the property after the court order expires your landlord will need to return to court to get a bailiff warrant before you can be evicted.
You must immediately contact the Council if your landlord locks you out of your home, even temporarily.
If you are a lodger and you have a written agreement, then your landlord need only give you the notice stated in the agreement. If you do not have an agreement, then your landlord only has to give you reasonable notice (usually two to four weeks).
What if I have already had notice from my landlord?
Housing possession claims have been suspended from 27 March until further notice. Under new legislation, most landlords will not be able to start possession proceedings unless they have given their tenants three months’ notice to leave. You can get more information on protection from eviction at:
Who should I contact if my landlord is telling me to leave now or harassing me?
You can contact the Council's Environmental Health team on 01992 785555 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm) or email [email protected]. You can also contact the police on either 999 (if you are being physically threatened) or 101. They should respond to illegal evictions.