Government unveils £65 million package to help private renters during Covid-19
The Government has announced a £65 million package for councils to help private tenants who are struggling with rent arrears due to the pandemic. Renters will be encouraged to contact their councils to see if they are eligible.
The funding, announced by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, this morning (23 October), will be given directly to councils to help those in need. The Government says its intention is to support low-income households, however, there is no earnings threshold for help. It will be down to each council to decide who receives funding.
The Government could not provide a specific date as to when the funding will become available but it said it is working with councils to make the money available as soon as possible. See our 50+ tips for renters guide for rental rights, energy tips, lettings fees and more.
If you are struggling, contact your council
While it will be ultimately up to each council to decide who receives funding, people are being encouraged to contact their local authority if they need support.
It will also be down to each council to decide how the money is paid out. However, it is likely that any payment will go directly to the existing landlord or to a new landlord if the money is being used to move home.
Even though the eviction ban has come to an end, you still have rights
Even though the eviction ban, which was in place during much of the pandemic, has come to an close there are still extended notice periods in place if you are struggling to pay rent and your landlord is trying to evict you:
- In England, landlords usually need to give you two months' notice (unless you owe more than four months of rent, in which case the notice period is just four weeks).
- In Wales and Scotland landlords usually need to give you six months' notice.
- In Northern Ireland they usually need to give you 12 weeks' notice.
See our Tips for Renters guide for more help.
Check you're receiving all the financial help you're entitled to
As well as the support announced today, the Government increased the housing allowance part of universal credit so that the local housing allowance would cover at least 30% of the lowest rents in your area. See our Coronavirus Universal Credit & Benefits guide for more. There are also other schemes to help renters in Wales and Scotland. See our Tips for Renters guide for more.
What does the Government say?
Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing Eddie Hughes MP said: "We have taken action throughout the pandemic to support the most vulnerable families, and it is vital we continue to provide support as we enter the winter months.
“This new funding will support families that are struggling and help to get them back on their feet as we begin to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.”
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