2. Advice and support for tenants during the Coronavirus pandemic
Do you live in a privately rented home?
If yes, Oldham Council wants your views – so we can better understand your experiences and shape services for the future. We’ve launched a survey that asks for your experiences as a tenant on a wide range of topics including:
- The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on your housing situation
- Maintenance and repairs to your home and
- Rent arrangements
The more private rented tenants we hear from the more confident we can be in our findings. The survey is completely anonymous and open until Sunday 4 July 2021.
To take part in the survey follow this link Find out more
If you know someone who rents privately, please share this with them
A concern for many tenants is the uncertainty of losing their private rented home or being given notice to vacate without enough time to find alternative accommodation.
The Government has continually offered support for tenants during the pandemic by requesting landlords to provide longer notice periods.
The Government has announced that landlords must issue 4 months’ notice to their tenants, except in specific cases such as rent arrears and anti-social behaviour where shorter notice periods will remain.
If you have been issued a notice and want advice on whether it is the correct notice, please contact:
In most cases landlords are understanding and empathise with the hardship tenants may be facing so simply making contact with your landlord to discuss the options and support available could save you time, effort and the headache of searching for a new home.
A mediator is an impartial individual or organisation who can help landlords and tenants work out an agreement that suits both parties.
The mediator is neutral and does not take sides
The Council or an independent legal body i.e. Citizen Advice Oldham, can provide advice to help resolve any disputes.
However, the government has announced a free Housing Possession and Mediation Service for Landlords and Tenants.
- Rent Mediation Service - gov.uk website
With the new Pre-action protocol and extended notice periods, seeking mediation is advisable and can be the most beneficial outcome for landlord and tenant.
The National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) developed a useful diagram to encourage and support these positive discussions.
It’s easy to follow and you can begin these conversations today, don’t hesitate to contact the Council if you need support with opening these discussions.
- Arrears Management and Coronavirus Guidance (.pdf) - National Residential Landlords Association website
Debt and budgeting advice
Advice on how to manage finances and budget appropriately has never been more important. There is plenty of information on how to manage debt to ensure it doesn’t build up and overwhelm you. It’s also important to explore how to maximise your income. You can contact the following organisations for further advice:
- Oldham Welfare Rights
- Step Change Debt Charity
- Apply for Universal Credit - gov.uk website
- Apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP)
For renters who have reached crisis point and need advice, help is available across Greater Manchester, you find a wealth of information and advice at:
Tenants may also get overwhelmed by the raft of information that is currently out there and may not understand what it all means.
Can my landlord or letting agent evict me?
From 1 June your landlord or letting agent will be able to legally issue you with an eviction notice
Help if your landlord is pressurising you to leave or threatens to change the locks
You have the legal right to remain in your home until the landlord is granted a possession order from the court and a bailiff warrant to legally evict you.
It is illegal for your landlord to harass you.
It is illegal for the landlord to temporarily or permanently lock you out of your home.
If you are experiencing this behaviour from you landlord, please contact the Council’s Tenancy Relations Service
You can also make a referral into the Bond Board for advice and support.
Free legal advice
- Legal aid and free legal advice - Shelter website
- List of local legal advisers - Excel spreadsheet download
Your landlord should still be carrying out repairs that fall under his or her responsibility in accordance with your tenancy agreement.
This includes safety inspections such as, gas safety, electrical installation and EPC.
No work should be undertaken during a period of self-isolation and all repair works should be carried out whilst observing social distancing guidelines including the wearing of a face covering.
Paying rent after your landlord has served you notice
You are legally obliged to continue paying rent to your landlord.
If you are unable to do so, please contact the Rent Mediation Service:
- Rent Mediation Service - gov.uk website
Until the tenancy is legally terminated by the court you must continue to meet your obligations as a tenant
Mental health support
Given the economic and social impact of coronavirus, it essential that landlords and tenants seek support with their mental health and not to suffer in silence.
There is plenty of support for people who feel the weight of the world on their shoulders, or simply need someone to talk to: