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Coronavirus - if you have problems with renting

This advice applies to Wales

Eviction processes will start again after 23 August 2020. 

If you’re having problems with your rented home because of coronavirus, there are:

  • conversations you can have with your landlord to end a tenancy, get repairs done or deal with rent increases

  • steps you can take if you’re struggling to pay your rent

  • temporary new rules your landlord must follow if they want to get you to leave or evict you

  • ways to get help if you’re homeless or can’t keep living in your home

Check if you can get out of your tenancy

You’ll have to talk to your landlord if you want to leave your rented home.

If your contract ends on a certain date, you’ll have to keep paying your rent until that day,  unless your landlord agrees to end your tenancy early. 

If you live with other people, it’s important you all keep paying your rent. If you all signed the same agreement, it’s possible you have a joint tenancy - this means if one person stops paying their rent everyone else might have to pay. 

If someone signed the contract as a guarantor for you or another tenant, they might also become responsible for unpaid rent. 

 You can find out more about what type of tenancy you have and how to end it.

Check what repairs your landlord is responsible for

Your landlord is still responsible for doing repairs to your rented home - nothing’s changed.  

You can find out what repairs your landlord should carry out.

Repairs might take longer than usual. Whoever does the repairs will need to follow social distancing rules. If you’re in an area with a local lockdown, the rules might be different.

You can check what the government guidance is for doing repairs on GOV.UK.

Check if your landlord is allowed to increase your rent

There are no new rules to protect you from rent increases because of coronavirus. Your landlord does have to follow certain rules if they want you to pay more and you might be able to agree to pay a lower amount. 

You can find out how to deal with a rent increase.

If you can’t pay your rent

There are no new rules to make your landlord reduce your rent. 

If you can’t pay your rent you should explain the situation to your landlord straight away. They might give you more time to pay, or agree to reduce your rent. 

If your landlord doesn’t offer to be flexible with your rent payments, it’s a good idea to pay as much as you can afford. Keep a record of what you discussed with your landlord and how much you paid - you might need it if you ask for housing help from the council. 

You should also contact your nearest Citizens Advice - an adviser can help you explain things to your landlord. 

You may be entitled to benefits to help with housing costs if your income has reduced, even if you’re still working. You can check what benefits you can get.

If you don't have enough money to pay your rent after paying all your essential bills, then your home may not be affordable. You might be able to ask for housing help from the council.

You can also check what help you can get if you can't pay household bills because of coronavirus.

If you rent from a private landlord

You can find out more about dealing with rent arrears.

If you rent from a council or housing association

Find out what to do if you can’t afford to pay rent for your council home

If your landlord is trying to get you to leave or evict you

Your landlord might have to give you extra notice to leave before they can go to court to evict you. This is because the government made a change to the law about eviction notices to help people deal with coronavirus. 

The government paused evictions, but after 23 August your landlord can take court action to evict you.

If your landlord has given you notice to leave

Your landlord must give you notice if they want you to move out - this is called ‘notice seeking possession’. The length of your notice will depend on the type of tenancy you have and the date your landlord asked you to leave.

You won’t have to leave your home at the end of your notice. Your landlord will have to apply to the court to evict you if they still want you to leave. They won’t be able to go to court until after 23 August 2020.

If you rent from a private landlord or housing association you’re likely to have an assured or assured shorthold tenancy. Your landlord then has to give you:

  • 3 months’ notice between 27 March and 23 July 2020 
  • at least 6 months’ notice between 24 July and 30 September 2020 - unless you’re being asked to leave because of anti-social behaviour

Your landlord has to give you 3 months’ notice if you have a:

  • secure, introductory or flexible tenancy -  you’re likely to have this if you rent from the local council

  • protected tenancy - you’re likely to have this if you started renting from a private landlord before 15 January 1989

  • demoted tenancy - you may have this if you rent from your local council or from a housing association

You can check your tenancy type

If you rent a room in your landlord’s home

Your landlord can ask you to leave - they won’t have to go to court to evict you. They have to give you notice but it doesn’t need to be in writing - it should be for a reasonable period of time, like 28 days. 

If you don’t leave at the end of your notice, your landlord can evict you as long as they don’t use force. For example, they can change the locks while you’re out but they must look after your belongings and let you have them back. 

If they use force, you should go to the police. This is a criminal offence.

You can check what rights you have as a lodger.

If your landlord has already started court action to evict you

Eviction processes will start again after 23 August 2020.

Tell your landlord as soon as possible if you or someone you live with has been affected by coronavirus. They will tell the court, and it might help you stop or delay your eviction. For example, tell your landlord if:

  • you’ve been ill with coronavirus
  • you’ve lost your job
  • a family member has died

If the court has already sent you a possession order saying you’ll be evicted, get help from an adviser as soon as possible. You might be able to stop the eviction, but you’ll only have a short amount of time to take action.

If you got a Defence form before 28 March 2020

Get help from an adviser as soon as possible to fill in the form. You should send it to the court as soon as you get a letter saying your case has started again.

If you had a court deadline on or after 28 March 2020

Your landlord or the court should write to you after 23 August to tell you your case has started again – this is called a ‘reactivation notice’. Check your reactivation notice to find out if your deadline has changed and what your new deadline is.

If you can’t meet the deadline, write to the court to tell them why and ask if they can change it. For example, tell them if you’re too ill to meet the deadline. You should ask them within 14 days of getting the letter.

If you’re not sure when your deadline is or if you think you might have missed it, contact the court or your solicitor or adviser if you have one.

If the bailiffs were due to visit before coronavirus

Your landlord may already have got a possession order from the court or you could have received an N54 Notice of Eviction.

Bailiffs can start evicting people again after 23 August 2020. They will need to give you 14 days’ notice of their visit.

You might be able to delay or stop your eviction -  contact your nearest Citizens Advice for help.

You can also check what you can do if you have received a Notice of Eviction.   

If your landlord forces you to leave your home

If your landlord is required to get a court order to evict you and hasn’t but still makes you leave, this is likely to be an ‘illegal eviction’.  

It will be an illegal eviction if they make you leave by:

  • changing the locks
  • stopping you using part of your home
  • threatening or physically harassing you to leave
  • turning off the water or energy supply

If this happens you should report it to the police.

You should also contact your local council. They might have a Tenancy Relations Officer who can try to talk to your landlord or take action to get you back into the property. They might be able to help you find emergency accommodation if you need it.

You can also take legal action to get back into your home. Although a lot of courts are closed, it will be considered an emergency. If you’re going to take legal action against your landlord, it’s best to contact your nearest Citizens Advice.

You can also report your landlord to Rent Smart Wales - they could take away your landlord’s licence to rent out a property.

If you're living with others and are worried about your health

If you or someone you live with has symptoms of coronavirus there are things you can do - read how to keep each other safe on Gov.Wales. 

If you’re extremely vulnerable because of a medical condition, you might have been told to ‘shield’ yourself. You can read about how to live safely with other people on Gov.Wales. 

If your shared housing makes it impossible for you to shield yourself, it’s likely to be considered unsafe for you to stay there. You can ask your local council for help finding somewhere else to live. That means you’ll need to make a homeless application

If your council doesn’t offer suitable alternative accommodation, you should contact your nearest Citizens Advice.

If you become homeless

You can ask your local council for help if you’re homeless or you can’t carry on living in your home because of coronavirus. 

The government have also said anyone sleeping outside or at risk of sleeping outside should be considered in ‘priority need’ right now.

You can check how to apply for homeless help.

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