Guest Q&A: I’m worried that I won’t be able to pay my rent. Will I get evicted if I can’t find the money?

Stephanie Hammond, director of accounts at Beatons accountancy firm, looks at measures in place to prevent tenants losing their homes during the health crisis.

Having a roof over your head is a basic human right – and it makes absolute sense that the fear of losing that safety net will be in the forefront of your mind during this crisis.

According to the Office of National Statistics, the number of households in the private rented sector in the UK increased 63% to 4.5 million in 2017, so you are not the only one in this boat.

However, while I want to offer reassurance, the truth is that help for you is a little bit more muddy than the clear cut three-month mortgage holiday being offered to homeowners.

On the plus side, the Government has announced that landlords won’t be able to start eviction proceedings for at least the next three months, protecting private and social tenants experiencing financial difficulties.

Emergency legislation is being introduced for this but it’s not yet clear when this will come into force.

Beyond this three-month point, you’ll be expected to work with your landlord to establish an affordable repayment plan which takes your circumstances into account.

Bear in mind that there are provisions for the buy-to-let investor to be able to have the three-month mortgage holiday too so hopefully your landlord will be amenable to discussing how you go about paying back the arears at a later date.

My advice is to speak to your landlord as soon as possible to try and work out a way forward.

It’s also worth checking whether you’re receiving all the financial help with housing you’re entitled to, which could come from benefits such as universal credit and housing benefit which has been enhanced to help those who are struggling.

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