Housing rent payment and support during COVID-19
You are reminded that rent payments are a priority debt and if you do not pay you could lose your home.
In March 2020, due to COVID-19 the government made the decision to suspend and stay all legal action for rent arrears.
The provisions in the Coronavirus Act 2020 will change from 1 June 2021 meaning Birmingham City Council must give you at least 4 months’ notice if they plan to start possession proceedings against you, unless you owe at least 6 months’ rent.
The government has stated that subject to public health advice, notice periods will return to the pre-pandemic levels from 1 October 2021.
Tenants should continue to pay rent and abide by all other terms of their tenancy agreement to the best of their ability.
Tenants who are unable to do so should speak to Birmingham City Council at the earliest opportunity.
We understand this is an unusual situation and you may have disruption to your normal routine. However, the government is putting in place lots of extra support and measures to help workers and those claiming benefits. Read more about government support.
Tenants are reminded that those who can pay their rent should continue to do so.
Things you can do to prevent legal action
Do you have an existing court order? If you have not been able to maintain the terms of the Court order and have not contacted us since April 2020, we urge you to get in touch with us immediately, we do want to help and to keep you in your home. If you have received letters from us, please do not ignore them and contact the rent service.
Setting up of repayment plans
We have a variety of repayments plans to help you to effectively budget and to reduce any outstanding debts you have, contact the rent service
You might be eligible for Universal Credit? Information can be found about Universal Credit on the GOV.UK website, on how to apply, how to set up and maintain your online Universal Credit account.
Discretionary Housing Benefit
You can also get extra help with your housing costs or Council Tax and may be able to claim Discretionary Housing Benefit
Test and Trace Support Payment
You can also apply for a Test and Trace support payment if you receive a positive COVID-19 test result or are told by the NHS to self-isolate because of close contact with someone who has Covid-19. You may be eligible for a £500 lump sum. Payments will only be made for people with a positive diagnosis from 28 September onwards (not before). The scheme is due to end on 30 June 2021. The Test and Trace Support Payment is for people on a low income, who must legally self-isolate for 14 days and cannot work from home during this period.
Did you know there are several foodbanks across the city that can help you with your weekly food supplies or if you are vulnerable and unable to get to the shops.
Foodbank works with different frontline professionals and in many cases, you may need a referral form. The food bank and referral agency use a voucher scheme to gather some basic information, this will help them to identify the cause of the crisis, offer practical guidance and prepare suitable emergency food.
For further information contact foodbank at email@example.com
Other ways to help you to be empowered
Visit the cleanslate charity website
You can also see the download factsheet Paying your debts who comes first
Tenants in self-employment
A range of extra support and measures have been in place to help workers, benefit claimants and businesses affected by COVID-19.
If you're self-employed or a member of a partnership and have been adversely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) find out if you can use the scheme to claim a grant.
or visit the GOV.UK website to see the latest press release for the self employed
Illegal Loan Sharks
Loan sharks are illegal moneylenders who often charge very high interest rates. You can check if a company is authorised to lend money and report loan sharks anonymously on the GOV.UK website.
If you need help and support to budget or you are experiencing financial hardship contact Financial Inclusion Birmingham or the Rent service
Think Family work in partnership with Birmingham Children’s Trust. It is not a new service but a new way of thinking. If you need general support for you and your family, if you are out of work or at risk of financial exclusion, or a young person at high risk of being out of work or have a range of health problems “Think Family” maybe able to assist you.