Q. Should I stop paying rent during the coronavirus outbreak?
No, tenants should continue to pay rent and abide by all other terms of their tenancy agreement to the best of their ability. Rent levels agreed in your tenancy agreement remain legally due and you should speak to your landlord at the earliest opportunity if you are in difficulty.
Landlords are encouraged to be sympathetic and are advised to consider whether it may be appropriate to reduce or defer payments in the current climate if their tenants are in difficulty as a direct result of the coronavirus outbreak.
If you are worried about being unable to pay you rent advice is available from specialist providers such Shelter, Citizens Advice and The Money Advice Service. You may qualify for universal credit.
Q. Could I be evicted during the coronavirus outbreak?
Evictions by court bailiff now have resumed in England.If you have rent arrears you are encouraged to agree a repayment plan with your landlord or seek advice from the Citizens Advice Burueau.If you have received an eviction notice you should begin to look for alternative accomodation and approach Housing Advice for assistance.
Tenants cannot be evicted without a court order and the Private Sector Housing Team are prepared for any attempted illegal evictions that may arise. They will investigate any cases brought to their attention with a view to taking enforcement action against those who do not follow due legal process. This could result in prosecution and a Banning Order.
Q. What should I do about repairs?
Landlords’ repair obligations have not changed and tenants should still report repairs to their landlord. However, tenants and landlords are encouraged to take a pragmatic, common-sense approach to non-urgent repair issues which are affected by the social distancing and self-isolating restrictions.
The Private Sector Housing Team will be prioritising the completion of emergency repairs at this time. An emergency would include matters such as fire and flooding issues which may impact on habitability of a dwelling and repair issues which may pose an imminent serious threat to health and safety of the tenant.
Q. Do gas and electrical safety checks still need to be completed?
Yes, there is still a legal requirement for an annual gas safety check and properties should also have had an electrical installation condition report completed. Tenants and landlords will again need to take a common sense and pragmatic approach to ensure they can be completed.
If a landlord is not able to gain access to the property due to the tenants self-isolating, or are not able to engage a contractor to carry out the necessary work, they should document attempts to gain access and all correspondence with the tenants. Further advice is available from GasSafe.
Q. Where can I find our more information for landlords and tenants?
More detailed information can be found at - Government guidance for landlords and tenants.
Q. Do I need to apply for an HMO license or renew my HMO license during the coronavirus outbreak?
Yes, properties which house five or more people, living in two or more households, must have a license to operate legally. During this time HMO licenses my lake longer than usual to process. If you are having any difficulties obtaining the certificates required for your HMO license application you must contact the Private Sector Housing Team by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone - 01926 456358.
Q. Is there any guidance for students in private rented accommodation?
The University of Warwick Students Union have produced some information for students in private accommodation.