Firstly, we hope you are all staying safe. We have prepared this Coronavirus Q&A page in relation to housing as we’ve had several questions from our users and what it means for them. There were a raft of measures announced concerning housing by Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor.
These include universal credit help to combat the coronavirus and information about rent and mortgage holidays. If you don’t have it already here is the link to the government coronavirus webpage.
Other measures included a law to halt evictions in this unprecedented climate which is great news for renters.
Can I be evicted during the coronavirus epidemic?
The Government has announced a series of measures to ensure that anyone who is renting a social or private home, will not be faced with eviction during this period. They have said that tenants will be protected from eviction for at least 3 months and this legislation will be taken forward as urgent priority.
Is the 3 month repayment mortgage holiday for landlords and homeowners?
As the landlords may not receive this income for at least 3 months, the government has stated the the 3 month mortgage holiday will be open for them too. This means that neither the landlord or the tenant will be under financial pressure during these times. Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick MP said: “The government is clear – no renter who has lost income due to coronavirus will be forced out of their home, nor will any landlord face unmanageable debts.”
What benefits am I entitled to during coronavirus?
Universal credit is the replacement of these 6 benefits;
- Child Tax Credit
- Housing Benefit
- Income Support
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Working Tax Credit
It is paid monthly (or twice a month for some in Scotland) and is there for those who are out of work or who are on a low income. Rishi Sunak announced that an additional £1000 a year will now be available during this outbreak. There is a benefits calculator from Turn2Us that you can use to check your eligibility for Universal Credit or other benefits.
If you need to claim Universal Credit or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) due to the impact of coronavirus, you will not be required to produce a Fit Note.
If you are affected by coronavirus you will be able to apply for Universal Credit and can receive up to a month’s advance upfront without having to attend a job centre.
For more information about Universal Credit, including how to make a claim, visit the Universal Credit homepage.
Can I still move house during the coronavirus epidemic?
The government’s stay at home guidance clarifies that people should stay in their homes for the next 3 weeks except in very limited circumstances.
If you were planning on moving during this time you could either;
- postpone the move
- negotiate the start and end dates of both tenancies with the landlords
If the landlords agree then you will not need to start paying rent on your new property and you could stay in your current one a little bit longer
It is vital that tenants, landlords and the government work together to come up with the right solutions.
However, although this ‘stay at home guidance’ is in place, Michael Gove stated on BBC Breakfast on Tuesday morning 24th March 2020 that “If it is possible to pause a house move, people should stay in their home” which may be seen as meaning that if you are not able to postpone your move, it can still go ahead. You should contact your solicitor, mortgage advisers and landlord to see what their advice and instruction would be.
We will be adding more detail to this Coronavirus Q&A page in relation to housing page as it becomes available. The information shown is correct as of 25th March 2020. We will look to update this page should new coronavirus information in relation to housing come to light. You can stay up to date on coronavirus information via the government website and through citizen’s advice.