Renters Rights | Read Time 5 Minutes.
2020 has been a year of confusion, of anguish and of loss.
Most of us have been in the dark since the first lock down back in March, and the priority for renters is to keep a roof over their heads. One of the things that scared me the most when we went into our first lock down was the idea of losing my home. I was a renter, who didn’t know my renters rights, and who was put on furlough. I was living with three other renters who were also on furlough, and with our household income coming in at only 80% of what it was.
What made everything much worse were the rumours surrounding renter rights. Your friend from work might tell you that their friend was evicted from their flat. Your neighbour might tell you about someone who lives next door who asked for a rent reduction, which was declined.
With so much uncertainty in the air, we think the easiest thing to do is to have some of your most important renter rights summarised in one place. So we at LGBT Lawyers have compiled a simple list that you can refer to. If you need more information, the Citizen’s Advice Page will be able to help you.
1. As of the 5th of November, the Government has announced a pause on evictions to protect the renters rights of those in rented accommodation.
Until the end of National COVID-19 restrictions, the Government has asked Landlords and estate agents to put a stop to the eviction of tenants This is to prevent the further spread of Coronavirus. For the foreseeable future, your landlord can only evict you if your case is serious. This includes: Antisocial behaviour, death of a tenant, domestic abuse and cases of fraud.
2. Your Landlord can still give you a Section 21 – but your minimum notice period has been extended.
This is if your Landlord serves you, or if you have already been served, a Section 21. The minimum notice period has been extended to comply with tenant needs during the pandemic. These are as follows:
– 2 months, if the notice was served before the 26th of March 2020
– 3 months, if the notice was served between the 26th of March and the 28th of August 2020
– 6 months, if the notice was served on or before the 29th of August 2020.
3. Your landlord must still comply with their contracted repairs and maintenance duties.
Your Landlord still has an obligation to maintain your property. This means your Landlord, local authorities and any tradesmen needed may enter the property. This is on the condition that they comply with social distancing and hygiene procedures. This is also only applicable if the tenant is not self-isolating.
4. You can apply for a rent and/or Council Tax reduction.
Whether you are furloughed or not, the current climate can be particularly difficult financially. So, if you need to, you can contact your Landlord directly for a rent reduction, or an extension on your rent if you need a bit more time to gather your finances. You can also apply for a Council Tax reduction, and you can do this through your local Council website. Neither parties are legally obliged to provide you with this reduction, however it is definitely worth asking.
5. Your landlord can still ask you for a rent increase.
On the flip side, your Landlord can still legally request a rent increase on your property. However, this is not mandatory: you can decline the request if you need to. It is important to note that your Landlord cannot discriminate against you, harass you or treat you differently if you decline their request for a rent increase.
6. Don’t worry if you are moving- you can still complete your move.
As long as you still comply with social distancing measures and ensure to stick to hygiene procedures, you can still move out of or into a property. Also, estate agents and private Landlords are still allowed to conduct property viewings, with the permission of the tenant.
7. Please, still report antisocial behaviour. You Still have renters rights.
If you find that people you live with, or people who live in your building, are conducting antisocial behaviour then you should report it to your Landlord, and possibly the police if the situation requires it. At the moment, if individuals are actively neglecting COVID-19 measures, including personal hygiene, cleanliness and the cleanliness or communal areas and failing to practice social distancing in communal areas, then you need to report it, as it poses a threat to your health.
Take a look at our Landlord and Tenant page for more information, advice and dispute areas.
If you think that any of these renters rights have been violated, or your Landlord has broken the agreements of your tenancy contract, give us a call or come to our Brighton and Hove office for a consultation on how we can help you through this difficult time.