COVID-19 - Housing

Last updated: 11 May 2020 at 5pm

We are working hard to minimise disruption to our services as a result of the coronavirus situation. Some services are operating differently or have been temporarily paused in line with official advice from the government. We will keep this under constant review and update this page accordingly.

Contacting us

Due to our offices being closed and to minimise contact with the public in line with government guidelines, all services will be operated remotely.

The Housing Team can be contacted by emailing housing@basingstoke.gov.uk or calling 01256 844844

Our telephone line is open from 8.30am to 5.30pm Monday to Thursday and 8:30 to 5pm on Fridays.

Housing advice and homelessness

Our Housing Options Team is available to provide advice and assistance regarding your housing situation.

On 26 March 2020 the government issued new guidance for landlords and tenants in England and Wales. It confirmed that from 27 March 2020 the court service will suspend all ongoing housing possession action – this means that neither cases currently in the system or any about to go in the system can progress to the stage where someone could be evicted. Further details of this can be found with the FAQs below.

For further advice please contact our housing advice team on 01256 844844 or email housing@basingstoke.gov.uk.

Rough sleepers

We encourage residents to report any concerns they may have about rough sleepers. If you see a person you believe may be rough sleeping you can report this via StreetLink or by calling 0300 500 0914.

If the person needs urgent medical attention please dial 999 for an ambulance.

Housing Register and Homebid

In order to comply with social distancing measures, Housing Associations are only carrying out essential maintenance and lettings activities. Due to this there will be no bidding cycle until it is safe and practical to resume lettings.

Please check the front page of Homebid for updates. Once we have more information regarding a date for bidding to resume we will ensure that applicants are notified.

You are still able to make applications to join the housing register. To make an application please visit the Homebid site.

If you have any queries regarding your application, please contact the housing team at housing@basingstoke.gov.uk or on 01256 844844.

For further information please visit out housing web pages.

Rent Bond services

We will continue working with landlords to find suitable tenants and provide advice and assistance regarding any existing bond tenancies.

In accordance with government guidance we are not currently able to conduct any viewings or inspections. This situation will be reviewed regularly in line with any updates that the government make.

If you would like to discuss any properties that you currently have vacant or that will become vacant in the near future please contact us as we will always have a need for them.

The Landlord Liaison Team can be contacted by emailing rentbond@basingstoke.gov.uk or by calling 01256 844844.

Submitting documents

If you have been asked to provide any documents, these should be scanned or photographed and sent to housing@basingstoke.gov.uk wherever possible. Where documents are sent via mail, please be aware that there may be postal delays.

Frequently asked questions

I can't pay my rent, what should I do?
  • Speak with your landlord at the earliest opportunity. They are likely to be more understanding if you keep them informed and may be willing to agree a payment plan to pay off arrears at a later date.
  • If a payment plan is agreed it is important you both stick to this and you talk to your landlord immediately if you are unable to do so.
  • Even if you can’t pay the full amount, pay what you can to minimise the arrears.
  • Advice is available from special providers such as Shelter, Citizen’s Advice and Money Advice Service.

You may be eligible for the housing element of Universal Credit to help towards paying your rent.

Can my landlord evict me at present?

The Coronavirus Act 2020 provides further protection from eviction for most tenants and secure licencees in the private and social rented sectors. Landlords must issue a notice seeking possession of at least three months. Currently, this applied to all notices served until 30 September 2020 however this could be extended.

At the expiry of the three month notice, a landlord cannot force a tenant to leave their home without a court order for possession. Housing possession claims are currently suspended.

My landlord issued a Section 21 eviction notice before the Coronavirus outbreak. Do I still have to move?

Housing possession claims have been suspended from 27 March 2020. The Eviction Act 1977 means that you cannot be forced to leave your home without a Court order and warrant for execution of that order.

The government have advised that non-emergency moves should be postponed.

I have a licence to occupy. Am I protected by the Coronavirus Act?

The legislation only applies to tenants so will not apply to licences to occupy (other than a secure licence under the Housing Act 1985). Landlords of those on licences are being encouraged to follow the same guidance and to work with renters who may be facing hardship as a result of the response to Covid-19. If you do not know whether you have a licence or a tenancy you should seek independent advice.

I can't pay my mortgage. What should I do?

You should contact your mortgage lender. Mortgage lenders may agree to offer payment holidays of up to three months when this is needed due to Coronavirus-related hardship. The sum owed remains and mortgages continue to accrue interest during this period. This is in addition to lenders usual forbearance options.

I can’t pay my mortgage and live in a shared-ownership property. What should I do?

You should contact your mortgage lender if you are struggling to pay your mortgage as a result of Covid-19 and ask for a payment holiday. If you are unable to pay the rent element you must speak with your landlord immediately. You may be eligible for Universal Credit to cover some or all of the rent element.

I have been furloughed or lost my job as a result of COVID-19. What help is available?

The Government has announced a range of measures and advice to help all those affected by COVID-19. Please see the links below for further information.

https://www.gov.uk/statutory-sick-pay

https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit

https://www.gov.uk/employment-support-allowance

https://www.gov.uk/lay-offs-short-timeworking

https://www.gov.uk/difficulties-paying-hmrc

Advice regarding assistance with Council Tax can be found on our COVID-19 - Council Tax webpage.

I'm self-employed. What help is available for me?

Under the self-employed income support scheme, the State will pay 80% of average profits up to £2500pcm (provided total annual profits do not exceed £50,000). The average profit is based on earnings in the three tax years up to April 2019. Find out specific advice for self-employed people.

Can I still make an application to join the Housing Register?

Yes, this can be done online through www.basingstokehomebid.org.uk.

If you are not able to apply online, please contact the Housing Team for a paper application.

If I am unable to print an application form, can it be emailed to me?

Yes. Please contact housing@basingstoke.gov.uk of you would like a paper copy emailed to you.

If I am accepted on to the Housing Register, how will this be confirmed?

We are advising applicants of the outcome of their application via email. If you have not provided an email address or you do not have one, then we will call you.

When will bidding cycles start again?

Unfortunately at this time we are unable to advise when the bidding will start again. We are working closely with our Housing Association partners and reviewing the latest government guidance.

Once it is safe and practical to do so, bidding will resume. When we can confirm the start date of the next cycle, we will inform applicants via the Homebid site and social media.

I was nominated for a property before the pandemic, will the Housing Association still contact me?

Housing associations are still carrying out pre tenancy checks remotely where this is possible. This will enable then to let the property as soon as it is safe to do so.

I have a non-urgent repair at my property. What should I do?

Inform your landlord at the earliest opportunity and engage constructively with them. Current restrictions may mean that that non-urgent repairs cannot be carried out at this time.

What if my boiler breaks or something else happens which is an urgent risk to my health?

Landlord’s repair obligations have not changed and, where reasonable, safe for you, and in line with Government guidance you should give your landlord/contractor access to inspect or remedy urgent safety issues.

I am a landlord and my tenant is unable to pay rent. What can I do?

There is no ‘one size fits all’ answer to this question as each tenant’s circumstances are different. At this time it is important to be flexible and have open conversations with the tenant at the earliest opportunity to try and agree a sensible way forward. The tenant may be able to claim Universal Credit to cover some or all of the rent. Read guidance for landlords and tenants for more information.

What does the current situation mean for property repairs?
  • 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 interest of both tenants and landlords to ensure that properties are kept in good repair and free from hazards.
  • Landlords should make every effort to abide by existing gas safety regulations which come into force on 1 July 2020.
  • If you are not able to gain access to a property due to restrictions in place to tackle Covid-19, or are unable to engage a contractor to carry out work, you should document your attempts to do so and all correspondence with your tenant.
  • Read further guidance on visiting properties to make repairs.

Contact us

  • Contact us online
  • 01256 844844
  • Civic Offices
    London Road
    Basingstoke
    RG21 4AH
  • Opening hours
    Monday to Thursday
    8.30am to 5pm
    Fridays
    8.30am to 4.30pm
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