Coronavirus support: Housing and legal advice

Wednesday 2nd December 2020

Coronavirus has made 2020 a difficult year for many of us, and a common challenge people are facing is around their housing situation.

Your job and household income may have been impacted this year, making your rent or mortgage payments difficult to keep up with.

This may be making you feel anxious and worried, and we want to help.

Although we are living in new and changing times, your housing and legal rights remain the same as they were pre-coronavirus.

Illegal evictions are still just that, illegal, and no one, including your landlord, can enter your property without permission.

There are options out there to help you get back on track, such as mortgage payment holidays and speaking to your landlord about accepting late rent payments or agreeing a rent reduction.

Homelessness should never be an option. Charities and organisations around the UK remain open to talk to and visit for advice and urgent support. If you are homeless, or facing homelessness, they can help you find housing options.

You are not alone, and we want you to know that advice and support is always available from our Centre for Student Engagement, Wellbeing and Success (SEWS). We are here to talk to and advise you on anything you’re struggling with.

Call 020 7078 8840 or video call our Virtual Reception, and ask to speak to a member of the SEWS team.

We’ve also pulled together a useful list of charities and organisations who can help with your housing situation, as well as those who offer legal advice and support.

Housing

Advice UK is a charity that puts members of the public in contact with free advice services, including housing and legal support. You can use the link to search support services in your area:

https://www.adviceuk.org.uk/

Citizens Advice have a wealth of housing advice and support, including how to get help if you’re being evicted:

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/housing/

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/housing/renting-privately/ending-your-tenancy/get-help-if-youre-being-evicted-england/

Evolve provides a range of services to homeless and vulnerable people in London. They can provide housing and mental health support to help you lead an independent life.

https://www.evolvehousing.org.uk/understand-our-work/

Council and housing association evictions

The UK Government’s official website provides information about your rights when facing eviction, as well as how to delay or stop evictions and if you can get legal aid.

https://www.gov.uk/council-housing-association-evictions

Guidance for landlords and tenants

You can also find legal guidance for landlord and tenants on their website:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-and-renting-guidance-for-landlords-tenants-and-local-authorities/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-landlords-and-tenants

The Housing Ombudsman Service looks at and helps with complaints about housing organisations, including housing associations and local authorities.

https://www.housing-ombudsman.org.uk/residents/

Your housing situation can have an impact on your mental Health. Mind provides tips on how to cope and where you can access support.

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/guides-to-support-and-services/housing/your-housing-rights/

Shelter helps millions of people struggling with bad housing or homelessness. They offer advice, support, and legal services as well as specific advice to those facing difficulties during coronavirus:

https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/coronavirus#Rent_benefits_and_money_problems

Legal Advice 

Advocate is a charity helping you find pro bono (free) legal assistance from volunteer barristers.

https://weareadvocate.org.uk/

Get free legal advice and find out if you’re eligible for legal aid in England and Wales.

https://www.gov.uk/civil-legal-advice

Equality Advisory Support Service runs a support service and helpline, advising and assisting people on equality and human rights issues.

http://www.equalityadvisoryservice.com/app/home

Search for a legal adviser in England and Wales by using the below website:

https://find-legal-advice.justice.gov.uk/

The Property Chamber manages a wide range of applications, appeals and references about disputes over property and land. It covers the Rent Assessment Committees, Leasehold Valuation Tribunals, Residential Property Tribunals and Rent Tribunals.

https://www.gov.uk/courts-tribunals/first-tier-tribunal-property-chamber

LawWork is a charity that provides free legal advice for those who are not eligible for legal aid and cannot afford a lawyer.

https://www.lawworks.org.uk/

Law Centres Network provides a list of law centres so you can find local support. They also offer legal advice, casework and representation.

www.lawcentres.org.uk

Free advice for people who live and work in London, including specialist legal advice services in debt and housing and welfare benefits for those on low incomes.

https://www.marywardlegal.org.uk/

The AIRE Centre (Advice on Individual Rights in Europe) is a London based charity providing free legal advice on European human rights law and EU law. https://www.airecentre.org/the-aire-centre