During Covid-19, you are entitled to 3 months notice when served a Section 8 or Section 21 notice for eviction. This policy does not apply if you received your notice before 23rd August 2020.
However, ALL court action for evictions has been suspended until the 23rd August 2020, regardless of when your landlord applied to court. Therefore, your landlord cannot take eviction matters further at the moment (Source: Shelter).
If you are served an eviction notice during the Covid-19 pandemic, you have the legal right to remain in your home and do not need to leave at this time.
Is my eviction notice legal?
There are two types of eviction notices your landlord may serve you to gain possession of the property: a Section 8 if the tenant has broken the terms of the tenancy agreement and a Section 21 commonly known as a ‘no-fault eviction’. In order for these to be ‘legal evictions’, certain things must be in place and protocols followed. The following sources are brilliant for you to do a quick and simple diagnosis of your eviction notices:
What do I do if I’ve been given an eviction notice?
STAY AT HOME.
Your landlord has to give you the proper notice (normally a Section 21 or Section 8 notice) and then go to court to get a possession order. There are lots of steps that the landlord has to follow, and they may make mistakes that delay the process. You do not have to leave your home until your landlord has got a possession order from a court. They can’t do this at the moment because all court proceedings for evictions are on hold until at least 23rd August.
Usually, if you are in 8 weeks of rent arrears, a court is likely to grant the landlord possession of the property. Under the new legislation, landlords will not be able to start proceedings to evict tenants until at least the 23rd August. Even once the courts are working normally again, the eviction process often takes several months.
Your landlord can only start possession proceedings at the end of the 3 month notice period stated on a valid Section 21 or Section 8 notice. You can legally stay in your home until the day the court bailiffs are authorised to come to evict you. If you get a Section 21 notice, check that it is valid. We can help members of the union with this.
You do not have to answer harassing phone calls or open the door to your landlord if they are threatening you.
If you are being harassed or told to move out of your home by your landlord, you can get in contact with Oxford City Council’s Tenancy Relations Officer for help and advice on 01865 252267 or email@example.com. Visit the council’s website for more information. If your landlord threatens violence or you are being illegally evicted call the police. Call 999 if a crime is happening now or someone is in immediate danger.
It’s illegal for your landlord to evict you without following the proper steps. It is usually an illegal eviction if your landlord:
- forces you to leave by threatening or harassing you;
- physically throws you out;
- Stops you from getting into parts of your home; or
- changes the locks while you’re out.
If your landlord tries to change the locks or use force to remove you themselves, this counts as an illegal eviction. Take a video of your landlord’s actions so you can get compensation.
You can post a notice on your door that you are in social isolation or quarantine, and you will not be allowing anyone into your home. You can make your own, or use one from the Oxford Tenants’ Union.
Please let us know if your landlord is trying to illegally evict you or being unreasonable. We are working to build a solidarity network and a renters movement in Oxford. We are planning collective action against any landlords, agencies or others acting illegally. If you are being harassed or told to move out of your home by your landlord, you can get in contact with Oxford City Council’s Tenancy Relations Officer for help and advice on 01865 252267 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the evictions process, check out this Shelter page.
Do I have to leave?
NO. See all the correct proceedings the landlord must go through in the answer above.
What will happen if I stop paying rent?
You can’t be evicted during COVID-19
You should first ask your landlord and/or agency for a rent reduction or suspension, telling them why you can no longer pay rent.
You should work out what you can afford to pay in rent once you have met your basic needs such as food and medicine. You could start by offering what you can afford to pay. Other advice on dealing with rent arrears is available here.
If you’re in touch with an agency, try to speak directly to your landlord. You have the legal right to know who your landlord is and their address.
The government has told your landlord or letting agency that they should be reasonable during the time of COVID-19 and discuss the situation with tenants. The bottom line is no one should be evicted during COVID-19.
It shouldn’t be left to landlords – who profit from our need for somewhere to live – to decide whether or not to show us compassion. We’ve demanded the government suspend all rent payments during the coronavirus, meaning that renters won’t be left acquiring huge debts during this time.
The government has announced increases to housing benefit and universal credit and an 80% income guarantee for some workers. There are still lots of people who don’t qualify for this extra support but it is worth checking out what you are entitled to. Check what benefits and sick pay you may be entitled to and find out how to apply them via Citizens Advice and Turn2Us.
Things are moving really quickly. If the government continues to refuse to provide protections for renters, huge numbers of us will soon simply be unable to pay rent. We’ll have to take action, most likely by organising an Oxford or national rent strike. There are some already taking place in the country: (London Rent Strike, Bristol Rent Strike, National Rent Strike Campaign)
If you’re interested in organising a rent strike with other renters please fill in this form to let us know.