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COVID-19 and renting: guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities

Guidance for landlords

Guidance from the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG)

The Council have received guidance from the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) that deals specifically with the impacts of COVID-19 (coronavirus) on landlords and tenants across the private rented sector.

Non-statutory guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities in the private and social rented sectors in the context of coronavirus was updated on Saturday 29 August 2020 to reflect amended regulations and wider government public health advice.

View further Covid-19 and renting guidance from the Government

Repossessions: Six-month notice period

On Friday 28 August 2020 the government confirmed the change to the law to ensure that most renters have a six-month notice period. Landlords must provide at least six months’ notice period prior to seeking possession through the courts in most cases. View the Government announcement.

Guidance for Landlords of Housing of Multiple Occupancy (HMO)

The following guidance is for landlords of multi-occupied properties so that, if necessary, they can provide advice to tenants in line with government guidance on what to do if they believe they or other occupants, have possible coronavirus (Covid 19) infection.

  • If a tenant has symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill. It is likely that people living within a household will infect each other or be infected already. Staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community.
  • All household members who remain well may end household isolation after 14 days. 

Further information is available from the Public Health England website. This will be updated as more information becomes available.

Tenants struggling with rent payments

People who have to self-isolate are being encouraged to work from home but you should be aware that, for many occupants engaged in manual labour, this will not be possible and, depending on their contractual arrangements, they may also be at risk of losing income during this period, which will affect their ability to pay rent.

Because of this you need to be aware that the government has brought in emergency legislation to prevent private tenants from being evicted if they are unable to pay rent, and Landlords are not able to commence eviction proceedings for three months.

Landlords are reminded that eviction by any means other than through a court order is not lawful & will end in prosecution.

Vulnerable tenants

If you are renting to any vulnerable individuals (such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions), they should be moved temporarily to stay with friends or family for the duration of the home isolation period.

For vulnerable individuals that do not have anywhere else to go whilst they self-isolate, the local authority may be able to assist with temporary accommodation for these individuals only. Please Contact Us or DASH Landlord Accreditation if you require further information.

At Northampton Borough Council, the Housing Enforcement Team continues to be available to respond to any queries from landlords and tenants. They can be contacted through the normal contact channels, but we would request that, wherever possible, you use our email [email protected].