Many of the rules affecting private renters have been temporarily changed as part of the response to the ongoing COVID-19 emergency. During this time, Ealing Council is working hard to ensure that local landlords and tenants understand the new protections.
The measures include the suspension of evictions from private rented accommodation in place until at least 23 August. No new possession proceedings are allowed during the crisis and all ongoing cases have been suspended the same date. This means that no evictions can legally take place during this period. Landlords can still serve eviction notices, but they must give three months’ notice if they intend to seek possession for any reason. More information can be found here.
Tenants are still liable for their rent and should pay as usual, but financial support is available for those who need it. If you think you will have difficulty paying rent, speak to your landlord at the earliest possible opportunity. Once the emergency is over, landlords and private renters should work together to resolve disputes and arrears, taking into account tenants’ individual circumstances.
Buy-to-let lenders can offer a mortgage holiday of up to three months to private landlords whose tenants have been affected by COVID-19. This is on the understanding that landlords will offer a similar rent holiday to their tenants. Find out more here.
Ealing Council can help
The council’s property regulation team has advised landlords and tenants in a number of cases since the start of the lockdown. Some examples of support that the team has already provided include:
- A concerned and vulnerable tenant reported that other tenants in her building were not complying with social distancing restrictions. The team contacted the landlord, who ensured all tenants complied with the guidance.
- Intervening in a case where a lodger was threatened with eviction by his landlady because she feared she could be infected by her tenants.
- Helping to suspend tenancy agreements in an house in multiple occupation. The tenants were concerned about maintaining social distancing in a house with shared facilities. This allows greater distancing for the remaining tenants.
- Stepping in to ensure boilers are fixed and pest infestations are tackled.
- Continuing to monitor fire safety in privately rented homes and enforce any necessary changes to safety measures.
‘Ask for support if you need it’
Councillor Joanna Camadoo-Rothwell, Ealing Council’s lead member for community safety and inclusion said: “During the coronavirus pandemic, we are determined to ensure that everyone who rents their home has a safe and decent place to live and does not face the threat of eviction. We are asking Ealing’s landlords to take a considerate approach to financial challenges arising from the pandemic. This includes offering their tenants payment plans as appropriate.
“While most landlords and property owners are being responsible, we have had reports of some who are ignoring the protections and putting unacceptable pressure on private renters. We are urging all landlords to keep in contact with their tenants during this difficult time. If their tenants are struggling financially, we want landlords to try to reach an agreement about rent payments.
“Private residential tenants struggling to pay their rent as a result of coronavirus can apply for support, including Universal Credit. If you are finding it difficult to pay for basics, you can also apply to our local welfare assistance scheme.”
Get in touch
The council’s housing solutions team can provide advice for tenants who are at risk of homelessness. They can be contacted by calling 020 8825 6444.
Concerned about the condition of a privately rented home or an illegal outhouse? Speak to the council’s property regulation team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 8825 6622.