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Coronavirus and your home

Help if you rent your home

In March 2020, the government introduced temporary regulations to protect tenants. The regulations have been updated several times and set out how much notice your landlord must give you before they can start court action to evict you.

In Wales, from 29 September 2020 until 31 December 2021, regulations say that in most cases a landlord must give you six months' notice.

In England, new regulations say the following notice is needed if your landlord wants to end your tenancy because you owe rent.

  • From 1 June 2021 to 31 July 2021, in most cases where there is less than four months of rent arrears, a landlord must give you four months' notice.
  • From 1 August 2021 to 30 September 2021, in most cases where there is less than four months of rent arrears, a landlord must give you two months' notice.
  • From 1 June 2021 to 30 September 2021, if you owe four months or more of rent arrears, in most cases your landlord only needs to give you four weeks’ notice.

In England, from 1 June 2021, if your landlord uses the section 21 process only, you must be given four months’ notice.

The section 21 process can only be used for assured shorthold tenancies. Your landlord does not need to give a reason, such as rent arrears, for asking for the property back. However, your landlord must follow certain rules. Also, they will need a court order and to use court bailiffs to evict you. Check your paperwork. It will tell you the reason that the landlord has used to ask for the property back.

Court action

From 27 March 2020 until 20 September 2020 the court service suspended (stayed) most possession action because of coronavirus. This temporary stay has now ended. This does not mean that your landlord will begin court action.

If you cannot afford to pay your rent or already have arrears, contact your landlord as soon as possible to discuss your situation.

If your landlord starts new possession action or asks the court to re-start a claim that was previously suspended because of coronavirus, there are extra rules that they need to follow. For more information, see our Rent arrears fact sheet.

If you have received possession claim forms, are being threatened with court action (including eviction) or need extra support, contact:

  • Shelter on 0808 800 4444 if you live in England; or
  • Shelter Cymru on 0800 049 5495 if you live in Wales.

Information is also available on their websites.

Tenant Saver Loan Scheme

The Tenant Saver Loan Scheme offers loans to certain private sector tenants in Wales to cover rent arrears that have built up since 1 March 2020.

However, the Welsh Government has said that it is introducing the Tenancy Hardship Grant to replace the Tenant Saver Loan Scheme. If you have already received a loan through the Tenant Saver Loan Scheme, your loan will be converted to a grant. You should be contacted later in July 2021 when the new grant scheme starts.

For more information, see the Tenancy Hardship Grant section.

Tenancy Hardship Grant

You may be able to get help from the grant if you:

  • are living in private rented accommodation in Wales;
  • have fallen behind with your rent by more than eight weeks between 1 March 2020 and 30 June 2021 because of coronavirus reasons; and
  • were not receiving housing-related benefits when you built up your rent arrears.

To apply for the grant, contact your local authority. If your application is successful, the local authority will pay the grant to your landlord on your behalf.

For more information, see GOV.Wales.

Discretionary Housing Payment

If you claim Housing Benefit or Universal Credit with help towards housing costs, you may be able to get a Discretionary Housing Payment. A Discretionary Housing Payment can give you extra money to pay towards your rent. To apply, contact your local council. Check whether you can claim online.

Help with your mortgage

FCA guidance

The FCA guidance, which may have meant you could apply for a payment holiday, ended on 31 July 2021.

If you are finding it difficult to afford your mortgage payments, contact your lender as soon as possible to discuss your situation. Ask your lender what forbearance options are available and how they will affect your credit file. Your lender should provide support that is tailored to your circumstances. For example, this may include an agreement:

  • to make reduced payments or no payments for a set period of time; or
  • to change the term of your mortgage.

If you previously had a payment holiday which has ended and you can afford to make your mortgage payments again, do so. You will also need to contact your lender to discuss how you are going to catch up with the missed payments.

Possession action in the courts

FCA guidance also said that while lenders could continue with possession action, they should not have enforced repossession of a property before 1 April 2021. This does not mean that your lender will take court action now. However, if your lender starts new possession action or asks the court to re-start a claim that was previously suspended because of coronavirus, there are extra rules that they need to follow. For more information, see our Mortgage arrears fact sheet.

If your lender is threatening eviction or you have received a notice telling you that you will be evicted, contact:

  • Shelter on 0808 800 4444 if you live in England; or 
  • Shelter Cymru on 0800 049 5495 if you live in Wales.

Information is also available on their websites.

Help to Buy customers

England

The FCA guidance, which may have meant you could apply for a payment holiday, ended on 31 July 2021.

When an agreed payment holiday ends, loan payments will automatically return to the normal monthly amount. You will need to contact Help to Buy on 0345 848 0236 to discuss how you are going to catch up with the missed payments.

Wales

If you are worried about making repayments you should contact Help to Buy (Wales) Ltd​ on 0800 0937 937 to discuss your situation.