COVID-19 - Housing

Last updated: 4 September 2020 at 12.30pm

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
Contact the Housing and Social Inclusion Team or call 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 confirming that from the following day the court service was to suspend all ongoing housing possession action. This meant that neither cases of eviction from private sector or social housing tenancies could not progress to the stage where an eviction could occur. This suspension has been extended to 20 September 2020. Further details of this can be found with the FAQs below.

For further advice please contact our housing advice team via the Contact Us form, call 01256 844844 or email

Rough sleepers

We encourage residents to report any concerns they may have about rough sleepers. You can report a person who you think is rough sleeping via the StreetLink website or by calling 0300 500 0914.

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

Housing Register applications

We are currently receiving substantially higher volumes of housing applications than normal. We assess applicants' housing need for admission to the Housing Register as quickly as practicable. At present, housing needs assessments are taking about four weeks. If you have submitted an application or supporting information within this timescale, please refrain from chasing - we are receiving much greater volumes of calls and emails than prior to the pandemic.

If you have forgotten your Homebid reference number or would like to place a bid please call on 01256 844844.

If you wish to update your details, you can do so by logging into your account and navigating to the My Social Housing tab.

Information regarding recent lets and approximate waiting times can be found by visiting the Homebid website and selecting the Recent Lets tab.

Rent Bond services

We have been working with individual private landlords to establish safe working practices. The team have already secured accommodation for a number of households since the restrictions on lettings has been eased.

We continue to operate a primarily remote service in order manage the risk to tenants, landlords and staff.

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

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 via email at or by calling 01256 844844.

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. The amendment to the Act issued on 28 August 2020 introduces varied notice periods depending on what legislation tenancies are held under. However for assured tenancies and ASTs held under the Housing Act 1988 (the forms of tenancy you are most likely to hold) 6 months notice must now be served to end the tenancy on a no fault basis (a notice issued under section 21 of the Act) and on most grounds under section 8 of the Act; the limited exceptions to this including where there are rent arrears of over 6 months or proven nuisance or domestic violence). For secure tenancies held under the Housing Act 1985 notice must be 6 months except for limited exceptions served under grounds 1 and 2 of the Act

At the expiry of the correct notice, a landlord cannot force a tenant to leave their home without a court order for possession. Housing possession claims are currently suspended until 20 September 2020. The Protection from Eviction Act 1977 means that you cannot be forced to leave your home without a Court order.

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

Housing possession claims have currently been suspended until 20 September 2020. The Protection from Eviction Act 1977 means that you cannot be forced to leave your home without a court order.

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. Find out if you are 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.

Advice and information on statutory sick pay

Find out if you are eligible for Universal Credit

Advice and information on Employment Support Allowance

Lay-offs and short-time working

Difficulties paying your tax bill on time

Advice on assistance with your council tax.

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?

Applications can be made through the Homebid site.

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 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.

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. Social distancing must be adhered to at all times meaning some non-urgent repairs may been to be delayed.

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 guidance on visiting properties to make repairs.

Contact us

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