Friday 4th September, 2020
What are your rights as a tenant during the COVID 19 pandemic?
The Coronavirus outbreak has left a lot of people concerned not only about their working arrangements, but also about the security of their living arrangements and the rights that they have when renting a property.
At CP Law Associates we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions from our clients and provided detailed answers below.
Should you allow your landlord to visit and access the property that you are renting during the COVID 19 pandemic?
Since the Government eased the housing market restrictions in June 2020, your landlord or the agent managing your property may need to access the property to carry out any works that were unable to be carried out during the lockdown period.
It is important to note that if you are in an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) your landlord does not have an automatic right to enter the property, but there are usually clauses in your contract that will specify that you will need to allow access for viewings or repairs. If you are currently living in a HMO, the landlord can have rights to access the common parts of this accommodation.
When your landlord needs to access your property they should give you notice before hand.
Can my landlord evict me?
Most renters are currently protected from eviction up until at least the 21st of September 2020, due to the ban on eviction notices. You are protected by the ban if your landlord has to get a court order to evict you – this is the case for many renters.
The main exceptions however, are if you share accommodation with your landlord, this can be a friend or family member or if you don't pay any rent. It is important to seek advice if you are in this position.
When renting, you may find that you receive a notice from your landlord asking you to vacate the property - this is because this ban only applies to court action, not a notice served by your landlord. This first notice from a landlord is considered the very first stage of your eviction process and does not necessarily mean you must leave your home. But you should still seek legal advice if this is the position that you are in.
I can't afford to pay my rent, due to self isolating because of the Coronavirus, what are my options?
The Government have put in measures to protect tenants but they have not suspended claims for possession. Instead, the Government have amended the Housing Act to require new Section 8 and Section 21 notices to provide a notice period of 3 months. If a notice has already been served then it is unaffected. If you're likely to struggle to pay rent, or to miss rent, keep your landlord updated and discuss the problem as this will help to allay concerns on both sides.
I am already in rent arrears what should I do?
As a tenant, you should continue to pay rent and also ensure that you abide to all other terms in the tenancy agreement that you signed at the beginning of the tenancy. If you are unable to continue paying your rent then it is vital that you speak with your landlord at your earliest opportunity.
If a dispute persists over your rent arrears, then it is important that both parties consider mediation – this will allow an independent third party to assist those involved to reach a mutual agreement, without the dispute needing to go to court.
My deposit is in a tenancy deposit protection scheme – is it still protected during COVID 19?
There have been no updates to deposit protection requirements during COVID 19. Landlords must continue to uphold all their legal obligations relating to Tenancy Deposit Protection. If a tenancy ends during COVID 19 then the landlord should return the deposit as usual.
CP Law Associates
CP Law Associates have offices in Guildford and Southampton and provide support and advice for landlords and tenants. We understand the frustrations that you may face when it comes to missed payments or mismanagement of the property that you are renting. We can provide information on:
- Tenants rights
- Legal advice
- Landlord responsibilities
- Drafting of tenancy agreements and more
If you believe you have been treated unfairly as a tenant throughout the COVID 19 pandemic and you are looking for legal advice, please contact us.