COVID-19: Housing Advice Housing issues have not disappeared during Coronavirus. If you are facing rent arrears, eviction or even court proceedings, Citizens Advice IW have compiled the most up to date information to make sure you that you know your rights and responsibilities. We have a specialist Housing team who can give you advice on any of the following issues and more. Contact details are herePlease note: This information is correct at time of publishing and will be updated as more information is released.---Rent Tenants are still obliged to pay rent under the terms of the tenancy agreement. This may be difficult at this time, especially if you are unable to work and have lost income as a result.If you are having difficulties, speak to your landlord - an early conversation can help to create a plan if you are struggling. Landlords may be able to get a break in their mortgage payments from their lender. They may be able to 'pass this on' by allowing you a break in your rent. Please be aware that they are not obligated to do this. You may be able to negotiate a reduced rent or rent holiday with them, but this is ultimately your landlord's choice. If you manage to arrange a break with your landlord, you may have to pay the arrears back over time. If you receive Housing Benefit or the Housing Element of Universal Credit, you may be able to apply to the Isle of Wight Council for a Dicretionary Housing payment to help cover some of the costs of rent which you are no longer able to afford. There is more information and an online application here---Ending a tenancyIf you want to end your tenancyYou may wish to end your tenancy if you can no longer afford it, particularly if you have friends or family are able to take you in. There are no changes to the rules governing 'Notice to Quit' by tenants. You will need to check your tenancy agreement to see what you have agreed as a notice period. If you have explored all of your other options and cannot afford your rent you may also ask your landlord to agree to an immediate termination ('surrender') of the tenancy. The landlord will generally be able to insist on notice or, if the tenant is within a fixed term, payments until the end of the fixed term. If your landlord wants to end your tenancyDue to the Coronavirus Act 2020, the notice period that landlords may give a tenant to leave their property after 27th March 2020 has been extended to 3 months. The Government has asked Landlords not to issue new notices during this time, but cannot stop them from doing so.---Possession proceedings The emergency legislation for Coronavirus does not prevent a landlord applying for a possession order or pursuing a claim that has been issued. However, some (but not all) county courts are adjourning possession claims for 90 days from 27th March 2020. There have also been reports of bailiffs in some areas being unavailable or not scheduling evictions. More information is available on the government website.If you are currently awaiting a court date and are not sure if will be postponed, contact us for further advice.If you have been told that you will be attending a remote hearing, full guidance is available here. On the Isle of Wight, Citizens Advice has a specialist service which means that we can support you in these remote housing related hearings.--- Urgent maintenance If you are renting and there is a problem with your property, urgent maintenance can still be carried out. This includes but is not limited to: Problems with the building's fabric, e.g. leaking roof. A broken boiler, resulting in no heating or hot water. Plumbing issues, resulting in lack of washing or toilet facilities. An inability to wash clothes or store food, due to faulty white goods. Security-critical problems, e.g. broken window or external door. Faulty equipment required by a disabled person. Inspections and testing of fire alarms and emergency lighting systems can also take place. The Citizens Advice national website has advice on how to safely have contractors in your home here If an urgent inspection or works are required but an occupier suspects they may have the virus, they should inform the landlord and sensible precautions should be taken. For more information, please take a look at Mark Pritchard's website. --- We believe everyone is entitled to the information that affects their lives.That’s why our charity has given independent, confidential and free advice to generations of island residents.We want our clients to have the knowledge and the confidence they need to find their way forward - whoever they are, and whatever their problem.In times of crisis, we're here for you. As our offices are currently closed to the public, the best way to contact us is on our Adviceline number: 03444 111 444At the moment we are only answering voicemails left on the Adviceline number. This is the most efficient way we can deal with your enquiry. We are currently returning calls usually on the same day, and certainly within 1 working day.What to do when you call Adviceline- Call 03444 111 444 and press * to hear the other options, and then press 0. - Please leave your details and a number that we can contact you on.- Someone will reply as soon as they can.* Calls to the Adviceline 03 number cost the same as calling 01/02 numbers & may be included as part of your mobile or landline call package. If you do not have a package, calls from a landline can cost up to 9p per minute. Mobiles may be considerably more expensive.Other ways to contact us - You can also contact us via webform through the Isle Help website- You can also get advice through the national Citizens Advice website where you can access webchat. - If your enquiry is between 5pm to 8am you can leave an email. Enquiries through the national website will be answered by a Generalist Adviser from the national team.