Housing Needs Service Coronavirus (COVID-19) information
Following the announcement from the Prime Minister on the 23 March 2020 restricting unnecessary movements, we have reviewed our Housing Needs services:
The Housing Register
Applications to join the housing register can still be made via Kent Homechoice. Please note that there is a high demand for social housing and applications are processed in date order.
Choice Based Lettings
It is likely that there will be disruption to the way that we usually manage our void properties however please be assured that we will continue to advertise council properties as they become available for general letting.
Information regarding our Housing Association partners can be found on the Kent Homechoice website: https://www.kenthomechoice.org.uk/choice/default.aspx
Homeowners, private landlords and renters
On the 27 March 2020 the government announced a suspension on all evictions for at least the next 3 months. On the 5 June 2020 this was extended by a further two months, until 23 August 2020. If you have recently received a notice to quit or possession order which is due to expire during this time, you do not need to leave.
It is important to remember this is only a suspension of possession action and it may be that your mortgage company or landlord will commence action again after the suspension is lifted.
Private renters – please note that this is not a 3 month payment holiday and you still need to ensure your rent is paid.
Landlords – some points to consider:
- Ensure that your tenant is aware that rent is still due. If they are experiencing difficulty, advise them to get information regarding pay, statutory sick pay (SSP) and other relevant up to date information.
- If your tenant has a guarantor, ensure they are not be left out of any discussions regarding rent payments.
- Speak to your lender and find out what they are putting in place. Some landlords have already offered tenants a discount on rent or a "rent holiday". But remember, that as with the mortgage lenders, this deferred rent will have to be paid back at some point in the future.
- Check whether your insurer can offer rent and legal protection.
- Any pre-existing arrears (pre-18th March 2020) cannot be factored into this Coronavirus situation.
Government support is available for landlords and renters reflecting the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has produced Coronavirus (Covid-19) Guidance for Landlords and Tenants in the private and social rented sectors.
Further information on benefits and financial advice can be found here (this will be a link to new info going onto the DDC website front page under Covid-19: Support for the Local Community)
Residents of caravan and park home sites
The Government recently published guidance outlining a list of circumstances in which businesses providing holiday accommodation should stay open. Where caravan and park home sites are housing people who would otherwise have nowhere to live, or are providing accommodation to key workers or vulnerable groups, such as homeless households, through arrangements with local authorities and other public bodies, they should remain open to those groups only and not remove them from their homes.
Friends or family
During this difficult time, it is understandable that tensions may occasionally run high within households.We are under great pressure to ensure that we have sufficient provision available to support our most vulnerable in society with accommodation and as demands increase on the health system there is a good chance we will be asked to assist in supporting early discharges from hospital to free up hospital beds.
We are therefore asking if you can please avoid any family evictions during this most pressing period and keep your family with you if you possibly can.
This action will benefit the wider community because it will ensure that no one will have to be placed in accommodation with other households – thus creating avoidable contact and restricting unnecessary movements – and mean that any new requests for emergency housing are restricted to only the most urgent.
Emergency Homeless Cases: The housing options service is available to deal with emergency homeless cases, however we are currently unable to offer face to face appointments. For advice on your homeless situation please call 01304 872265 or email email@example.com
Rough sleeping: We are continuing to work with our partners to offer a service to rough sleepers to ensure that anyone who falls into a vulnerable group or is displaying any of the known symptoms of Covid-19 are offered accommodation to enable them to self-isolate.
If you know of anyone who is rough sleeping and in need of accommodation, please contact Porchlight’s 24/7 hotline on 0800 567 7699
For Advice or help if you've lost your job or had a drop in your income because of COVID-19 please view our dedicated page:
Updated: 2 June 2020
Posted on 23 March 2020