Housing

Housing update: coronavirus

The Law Centre is still open and while we can’t offer face to face appointments at the moment our specialist solicitors are still available to assist if you have a legal problem with housing.

There have been a number of developments in housing in response to coronavirus:

  1. Possession and eviction

The courts have suspended all housing possession action until 20 September 2020. This means that that most tenants can’t be evicted before the 20 September 2020. You can therefore stay in your home if your landlord serves you with a notice.

In most cases, in order to evict you your landlord has to get a court order and a bailiffs warrant. It is illegal for your landlord to evict you without doing so. You should contact us to get help if your landlord is trying to evict you without going to court, or is threatening you or has cut off services (gas, electricity, water). We can get an injunction to prevent this.

      2. New Notice Periods

It is important to note when your notice was served.

     2.1. Notices served on or after 26 March 2020 to 28 August 2020 must give most tenants 3 months before their landlord can apply to court

     2.2. From 29 August 2020 up to and including 31 March 2021, most notices must give tenants 6 months before their landlord can apply to Court. However, if you owe 6 months or more rent to your landlord, the notice period is only 4 weeks.

If your landlord has served you with a notice as a result anti-social behaviour or some other reason, the notice period can be as little as 2 weeks.

If you are a tenant and your landlord has served you with a notice, you do not have to leave your home when the notice expires. To evict you, your landlord has to get a court order and a bailiffs warrant. Your landlord won’t be able to do this at the moment because court action for eviction is on hold until 20 September 2020. If your landlord has given you notice, you can contact us to discuss this.

     3. Disrepair

Landlords’ repairing obligations have not changed. You should report repairs to your landlord. The government’s Guidance for Landlords and Tenants recommends that where reasonable and safe to do so, your landlord should remedy urgent health and safety issues, for example if your boiler is broken or roof is leaking, and you should allow access to your property. We can help get your landlord to carry out repairs if there is a serious risk to health or safety in your rented home.

All non-essential visits, such as routine inspections, should be postponed in line with the government’s coronavirus guidance.

     4. Homelessness

The Minister for Local Governance and Homelessness, Luke Hall MP, wrote a letter to local authorities asking them to accommodate rough sleepers and other vulnerable homeless individuals by 29 March 2020.

If you have made an application as homeless to the council and they have made a decision not to house you we can advise on your review, appeal or potential judicial review.  We can also help if the council has refused to take your application or if you have been offered housing which is not suitable.

To speak with one of the team you can contact our housing solicitors between 2 -5 pm on Wednesdays on 020 8148 5274. Alternatively, you can email hflaw@hflaw.org.uk or call 020 3880 1727 and leave a voicemail with your name and phone number and we’ll call you back.

All casework is subject to both means and merits tests and to the current capacity of the team. If you are in receipt of benefits or you are low waged, then you are likely to be entitled to Legal Aid.  You can check whether you can get Legal Aid here.

We can also help people who live in Hammersmith & Fulham with other housing issues – please contact us.

Please note that in line with the government’s coronavirus guidance we have had to suspend our weekly drop-in advice sessions at The Foodbank Hub.