Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance for Tenants as provided by Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, March 2020
We are currently living through an unprecedented time of uncertainty and at Carrick Johnson we want our tenants to know that we are doing our very best to stay on top of developments
Frequently Asked Questions…
- As a tenant, should I stop paying rent during the outbreak?
- Tenants should continue to pay rent and abide by all other terms of their tenancy agreement to the best of their ability. The government has a strong package of financial support available to tenants, and where they can pay the rent as normal, they should do.
- In many if not most cases, the COVID-19 outbreak will not affect tenants’ ability to pay rent. If your ability to pay will be affected, it’s important to have an early conversation with us. Rent levels agreed in your tenancy agreement remain legally due and you should discuss with us at the earliest opportunity.
- What can I do about rent arrears?
- Tenants should continue to pay rent and abide by all other terms of their tenancy agreement to the best of their ability. Tenants who are unable to do so should speak to us at the earliest opportunity. An early conversation can help both parties to agree a plan if tenants are struggling to pay their rent. This can include reaching a temporary agreement not to seek possession action for a period of time and instead accept a lower level of rent, or agree a **plan to pay off arrears at a later date
**If a plan is agreed to pay off arrears at a later date, it is important we stick to this plan to avoid further action and protect your home.
Where can I get help, if i’m struggling to pay rent?
Advice is available from specialist providers such Shelter, Citizens Advice and The Money Advice Service, all of which can be accessed on line
Local authorities can also provide support for tenants to stay in their homes and if you are experiencing financial hardship, you may be able to access new funding.
The Government have already made £500m available to fund households experiencing financial hardship and are determined to take action to support people in need.
You can also find more information on Government support for employers and employees here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-toemployers-and-businesses-about-covid-19
- What if I fall into financial difficulties due to a change in employment or earnings?
- You may qualify for Universal Credit. Property Guardian licence agreements are a valid tenancy arrangement for receiving housing costs support in Universal Credit. Find more information about Universal Credit at https://www.gov.uk/how-to-claim-universal-credit
- if you are already in receipt of Universal credit, the government have recently released a statement advising that they will contact you without the need for you to get in touch them first..read here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/don-t-call-us-we-ll-call-you?utm_source=9aec232b-e025-4cfc-ba30-d19705decbcc&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate
- What if I have already been issued with notice of my landlord’s intention to seek possession of the property
- If you have already been issued with notice of your landlord’s intention to seek possession of the property, or if you are issued notice in the next 90 days, your landlord will not be able to take action through the courts to make you move. This suspension will initially apply for 90 days from the 27th March.
- Q. What does the current situation mean for repairs to my property?
- Landlords’ repair obligations have not changed. Tenants have a right to a decent, warm and safe place to live – and it is in the best interests of both tenants and landlords to ensure that properties are kept in good repair and free from hazards.
- Good management requires regular review and maintenance of a property, but we understand that planned inspections may not be possible at this time. However, that is no reason to allow dangerous conditions to persist.
- Where reasonable and safe, and in line with other Government guidance we will make every effort to review and address issues brought to our attention by you, and keep records of our efforts.
We must stress that in these unprecedented times we encourage tenants take a pragmatic, common-sense approach to non-urgent issues which are affected by COVID-19 related restrictions.
What is deemed ‘urgent and necessary?
- Inspectors or maintenance workers can still visit for essential or urgent work such as inspecting and testing fire alarm and emergency lighting systems.
- Urgent health and safety issues are those which will affect your tenant’s ability to live safely and maintain their mental and physical health in the property. This could include (but is not limited to): −
- a problem with the fabric of the building
- the roof is leaking
- the boiler is broken, leaving your tenant without heating or hot water
- If there is a plumbing issue, meaning your tenant does not have washing or toilet facilities
- If the white goods such as fridge has broken, meaning the tenant is unable to store food safely
- If there is a security-critical problem, such as a broken window or external door
- If equipment a disabled person relies on requires installation or repair
You should inform Carrick Johnson early and engage constructively in the event that you encounter any issues with the condition of their property. The effect of current restrictions will be considered; but stress that in these unprecedented times we encourage our tenants and landlords to take a pragmatic, common-sense approach to non-urgent issues in line with COVID-19 related restrictions.
- What about the risk of catching the virus, or if I am symptomatic during a contractors visit?
- You must follow sensible precautions to keep yourself safe when contractors or others are visiting your property, as outlined in public health guidance found here gov.uk/coronavirus
- You do not need to have direct contact with anyone visiting your property to carry out repairs. Where an issue is critical to your health and safety (see above)
- We strongly advise you take additional measures such as remaining in separate rooms during any visits and following Government advice on hygiene and cleanliness before, during and after visits
NB. Whilst you are waiting for issues to be resolved, you must continue to meet your legal and contractual obligations as a tenant, including paying rent where you