Firstly, if you have any concerns about your own health or symptoms, please visit 111.nhs.uk/covid-19.
I fully recognise the concerns you raise about paying your rent and I know how worrying this must be for you.
The Government have announced that there will be a complete ban on evictions and additional protection for renters. The details of this have been set out here.
As a result of these measures, no renters in private or social accommodation needs to be concerned about the threat of eviction.
I have also just received a letter from the Housing Secretary that states: “My Department has announced a radical package of measures to protect renters and landlords affected by COVID-19. No renter in either social or private accommodation will be forced out of their home during this difficult time.
We are bringing forward emergency legislation as an urgent priority so that landlords will not be able to start proceedings to evict tenants for at least a three-month period. As a result of these measures, no renters in private or social accommodation needs to be concerned about the threat of eviction. There will be a moratorium on all new evictions and clear guidance has been issued stating that existing eviction processes should be dealt with appropriately, prioritising the safety and health of citizens across the country.
To support this announcement the government has worked with the Master of the Rolls to widen the ‘pre-action protocol’ on possession proceedings, to include private renters and to strengthen its remit. This will support the necessary engagement between landlords and tenants to resolve disputes and landlords will have to reach out to tenants to understand the financial position they are in.”
The package means that from March 27th, no renter can be evicted from their home and the court service will suspend all ongoing housing possession action.
If any renter is facing financial hardship and struggling to pay their rent, support is available. In the first instance, they should speak to their landlord or to Harlow Council if they live in council housing.
The Government has also announced further support support for renters, including:
- A £1 million grant to Harlow Council to help households experiencing financial hardship
- A workers’ support package, meaning the Government can pay 80% of a worker’s wages, up to a total of £2,500 per month
- A welfare support package, meaning that Universal Credit and Housing Benefit will increase and from April, Local Housing Allowance rates will pay for at least 30% of market rents in each area.
Landlords will also be protected by a three month mortgage payment holiday where they have a Buy to Let mortgage.
Further updates and announcements from the Government about a wider range of measures to support everyone can be found here.
We must follow the advice of the Chief Medical Officer, Public Health England and the Chief Scientific Officer – everything is guided by science and research. Their advice has been set out here. As Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, Great Britain will overcome the coronavirus and get through this. However, the road ahead is going to be hard for everyone.
Harlow is a very special place, with extraordinary reserves of kindness and goodwill. It is a place where people look out for one another. Let us get through this together.
If there is anything else I can do to help and support you or your family, please do not hesitate to contact me.
With every best wish,