Need help? Advice during COVID-19 crisis Housing Information if you’re struggling to pay your rent and you’re worried about eviction If you are struggling with paying your rent during this crisis, please see our information on Benefits Advice and Financial Support. The Government announced temporary measures to protect tenants during COVID-19. This means that any legal action to evict you from your home is currently suspended. All court action for eviction is on hold until at least 20 September 2020 due to Coronavirus You should stay in your home even if you have already had notice or your landlord applied to court before the outbreak. During this time new eviction rules mean that: Bailiffs will not evict you. Landlords cannot get an eviction order. From 20 September 2020 bailiffs will be allowed to evict tenants What if you receive an eviction notice? You will receive notification from the Court and your landlord as to the date and time that the bailiffs will come to evict you. You can and should stay in your home up until the date of eviction. You will need to make an application to the Court to stop the eviction from going ahead and therefore you should: • Seek urgent specialist legal advice.• Make contact with your landlord. From the 20 September 2020 the Courts will start to list possession claims again If you have received a notice of seeking possession during this period, it is important to contact your landlord and try to make an arrangement to clear your debt. This will avoid a court hearing and will save you from being charged court costs. If it is too late to do that, the landlord may start the court process and you will receive confirmation from the Court and your landlord about when your case is due to be heard. It is very important that you attend Court or a decision may be made about your tenancy in your absence. If you live in Coventry, a new temporary arrangement has been made for all housing possession cases to be heard at Nuneaton Justice Centre. If you are in Birmingham your case will be heard at Birmingham County Court. Your landlord can give you notice but they cannot make you leave without a court hearing. Whatever stage you are at, there are still many options available to you to resolve your housing issues and it is therefore important to: • Seek urgent specialist legal advice. Our housing team at the Law Centre can provide that.• Make contact with the homelessness prevention team at Coventry City Council or Birmingham City Council. You do not need to leave your property when the notice ends. You can only be asked to leave by a Court Bailiff. Do I still need to maintain rental payments? Even if you have been issued with a notice or an eviction date it is still very important it is still very important that you try and maintain your rental payments, even if you cannot meet your full rent. Many of the issues you may be facing can be resolved, and in many cases without going to Court. Can I get specific help for rent arrears? You might be able to get a Discretionary Housing Payment if you are getting Housing Benefit, or Universal Credit with an award for rent costs. Our helpline will help you. If you have been issued with a notice due to falling into rent arrears please contact our housing team. We will be able to discuss your options and assist you in keeping your home. Can I get help with other expenses? If you are struggling to pay your rent, its important to get help with other payments to make your money go further. For any help with the following please contact our helpline: Council Tax: You might get a discount on your payments if you are single or disabled. Council Tax Support: Apply online, it is a benefit that reduces your bill. For help with Council Tax Arrears call (02476 831111) or email [email protected] Gas/Electric: Self isolating and/or struggling to top up gas and electric cards/prepayment meters? There is help available. Water Arrears: Financial help at Severn Trent Trust Fund 0121 355 7766, or email [email protected] Community Support Grants: Call 02476833773 or email [email protected] to see if you can get a grant. Charities give grants: To individuals, to help with things such as furniture, decorating, clothing, or regular amounts to help cover bills and household expenses. Contact us for help to apply.