COVID-19 - Housing

Last updated: 13 May 2021 at 2pm

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

During the pandemic government has taken action to postpone eviction hearings and increase notice periods in most circumstances. These actions were designed to protect tenants from losing their home over the winter months thus placing them at greater risk of the virus.

However, from 1 June, notice periods and the eviction ban are amended as outlined below:

The Notice Period - Section 21

As part of a phased approach, notice periods which were previously extended to six months as an emergency measure will be reduced to four months with the intention that they return to pre-pandemic levels as from 1 October 2021.

The Notice Period - Section 8

The Section 8 notice differs to the Section 21 in that it relates to a specific breach of contract. From the 1 June 2021, notice periods that are currently six months will reduce to at least four months. However, notice periods for the most serious cases will be lower. These are:

  • Ground 7 - Death of a Tenant (2 months' notice)
  • Ground 7B - Breach of Immigration rules 'Right to Rent' (2 weeks' notice)
  • Ground 8 - Over 4 months' accumulated rent arrears (4 weeks' notice)
  • Ground 14 - Anti-Social Behaviour (immediate to 4 weeks' notice)
  • Ground 14A - Domestic Abuse in the social sector (2 to 4 weeks' notice)
  • Ground 17 - False Statement (2 to 4 weeks' notice)

Notice periods for cases where there are four or more months' of unpaid rent, will reduce to 2 months' notice with effect from 1 August 2021.

The Eviction Ban

The ban on bailiff-enforced evictions, introduced as an emergency measure during lockdown, will now come to an end on 31 May 2021.

Courts will continue to prioritise the most serious cases, such as those involving fraud or anti-social behaviour, and have a significant backlog to work through.

In addition, bailiffs have been asked not to carry out an eviction if anyone living in the property has COVID-19 symptoms or is self isolating.

For further information please see the links below:

If your landlord is evicting you please contact us as soon as possible using the contact details given below

If you are a landlord and want guidance on these new rules the council has a Landlord Liaison team that can help. They can also be contacted using the details below.

Tenants struggling to pay their rent or facing eviction from their private accommodation can get advice from the council’s housing experts. If you are struggling to pay your rent or concerned about eviction can get in touch for help and advice by calling 01256 844844 or emailing housing@basingstoke.gov.uk

What happens if my landlord wants to evict me?

If you're a private tenant, your landlord can only ask you to leave by serving one of two notices.

A Section 21 notice is commonly referred to as a "no-fault eviction" as your landlord doesn't need to give a reason for evicting you under this notice.

With a Section 8 notice, landlords must provide and prove grounds for asking you to leave.

If you have been served either notice please contact us for advice and assistance as soon as possible so we can advise you further.

What if my landlord pressures me to leave without serving notice?

If you feel your landlord is pressuring you to leave without serving notice, please contact us immediately using the details below. We can offer advice and assistance to both you and your landlord to ensure that the correct legal process is followed. Please contact us even if you think the eviction seems avoidable.

It is illegal for your landlord to:

  • harass you
  • lock you out of your home, even temporarily
  • make you leave without notice or a court order.

Our Landlord Liaison team can offer your landlord correct advice and assistance in these circumstances and we can help advocate for you too.

Read the guidance on challenging an illegal eviction, and on what the council can do to help.

How soon could I face eviction?

Your landlord can only start court action once your notice period ends. But please contact us using the details below if you have any concerns.

When can the court stop an eviction?

If your landlord has served a section 21 notice the court can usually only stop the process if the notice is incorrect.

If your landlord has served a section 8 notice and needs to prove a legal reason for eviction, such as rent arrears, the court can sometimes let you stay in your home if you keep to certain conditions.

In either case, we can advise you if your notice is correct and what will happen next, so please contact us using the details below.

Can I get emergency housing if I need to leave my home?

We will provide or help you secure emergency housing if you have nowhere safe to stay and may be in priority need.

Priority need means:

  • you have children dependent upon you for accommodation
  • you or someone you live with is pregnant
  • you can show that you are vulnerable, for example due to having been in care or because of serious illness.

Even if you are not in priority need we can help you secure accommodation and you should make contact with us

Search for hostels, if you are sofa surfing or running out of options.

For further advice please contact our housing advice team via the Contact Us form, call 01256 844844 or email hpos@basingstoke.gov.uk.

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 rentbond@basingstoke.gov.uk or by calling 01256 844844.

Meeting essential bills post COVID-19

Please find below a link to government advice for those having difficulty with rent payments, mortgage payments or utility bills as a result of the current pandemic.

Advice for people struggling to pay essential bills because of coronavirus

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.
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 31 May 2021. The Protection from Eviction Act 1977 means that you cannot be forced to leave your home without a court order.

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 housing@basingstoke.gov.uk if 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
    Basingstoke
    RG21 4AH
  • Opening hours
    Monday to Thursday
    8.30am to 5pm
    Fridays
    8.30am to 4.30pm
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