Coronavirus: council service information and advice

Information about changes to council services as a result of coronavirus

If you think you will have difficulty paying your rent or mortgage, contact your landlord or mortgage company to explain your situation and find out how they can help. The government has announced some additional measures to prevent homelessness during this time, but it is important to get advice early to resolve any problems meeting your housing costs.

If you are worried about losing your home, contact the council's Housing Needs, Advice and Support team by ringing 023 9283 4989 or emailing Housing.Options@portsmouthcc.gov.uk.

Advice for council tenants

If you are a Portsmouth City Council tenant please call your local housing office to find out what support is available to you.

Council house repairs

Following the latest government coronavirus advice which includes minimising social contact, Portsmouth City Council is taking the sensible precaution to protect the public by reducing non-essential council services.

The decision has been taken to close non-essential services. Therefore, our priority will be to only undertake essential building maintenance repairs until further notice.

Only essential repairs will be undertaken that will include the following examples;

  • Loss of essential services such as no heating or hot water or water supply
  • Electrical faults causing danger or no electric supply or loss of lighting
  • Water leaks or ingress of water causing damage
  • Blocked drains or WC not working where no alternative toilet
  • Building structural issues or weather tightness such as roof leaks
  • Building security including entrance door security or temporary boarding and intruder alarms
  • Gas servicing and repairs
  • Health and safety issues and make safe repairs
  • Essential work to ensure disabled adaptations remain operational such as stair lift repairs
  • Asbestos removal to facilitate emergency work
  • Compliance checks such as fire, legionella and emergency lighting

When you report a repair we will ask you if you or anyone in your home is self-isolating, if someone is self-isolating at the property we will ask them to move into a room away from the area of work where the repair needs to be undertaken with the door closed, so that we can keep everyone safe and well.

If you report a non-essential repair we will take the details and when services are reinstated will contact you to arrange a suitable convenient appointment.

Advice for private renters

Advice about disrepair in your rental property

You should report disrepair to your landlord as normal, and they must carry out necessary repairs. However we recommend tenants and landlords take a common-sense approach to non-urgent issues which are affected by coronavirus related restrictions.

Health and safety issues

Where safe, we recommend you allow local authorities, landlords or contractors access to your property in order to inspect and fix urgent health and safety issues.

Urgent health and safety issues are those which will affect your ability to live safely and maintain your mental and physical health in your home. This could include:

  • a problem with the fabric of your building, for example the roof is leaking
  • a broken boiler, leaving you without heating or hot water
  • a plumbing issue, meaning you don’t have washing or toilet facilities
  • broken white goods, such as fridge or washing machine, meaning you're unable to wash clothes or store food safely
  • a security-critical problem, such as a broken window or external door
  • installation or repair to equipment a disabled person relies on or requires~

You must follow sensible precautions to keep yourself safe when contractors or others are visiting your property. You can read public health guidance here.

Where an issue is critical to your health and safety, we strongly advise you take extra measures such as remaining in separate rooms during any visits and following Government advice on hygiene and cleanliness before, during and after visits.

You do not need to have direct contact with anyone visiting your property to carry out repairs.

Gas and electrical safety inspections

Landlords must provide tenants with all necessary gas and electrical safety certification at the beginning of a tenancy. They should also carry out all scheduled inspections and tests where required. Where inspections have already been carried out, documents can be sent by post or digitally.

Landlords should make every effort to follow existing gas safety regulations and electrical safety regulations which come into force on 1 July. There are provisions in both regulations to account for situations in which a landlord can't do this, and they must show they have taken all reasonable steps to comply with the law.

If a landlord is not able to gain access to the property due to coronavirus restrictions, or can't get a contractor to carry out the necessary work, we recommend they document their attempts to do so.

Advice regarding your tenancy agreement

If you're a tenant you should continue to pay your rent to your landlord as normal. If you can't pay your rent, you need to tell your landlord as soon as possible.

Extended notice periods

The government have introduced measures to protect tenants during the current pandemic. This includes extending the notice period that your landlord needs to give you when following eviction procedures to three months.

Where to get help

If you need advice about your tenancy agreement or think your landlord is not following the correct procedures you can contact Advice Portsmouth. Advice Portsmouth can provide you with advice over the phone on 07789 550593 or 023 9279 4340 or you can email them at advice.portsmouth@theyoutrust.org.uk

If you live in a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

If you are living in shared accommodation, or share facilities with other people, this counts as one household for the purposes of self-isolation and you should follow current Public Health England guidance.

Certificates required as part of HMO licence conditions are still required - landlords should arrange to fulfil these in advance of the deadline date. 

Good to know

  • Nobody can be removed from their home because of the virus
  • Landlords do not have to provide alternative accommodation for tenants if others in the property contract the virus
  • House moves should be delayed unless moving is absolutely unavoidable
  • If you're having to leave accommodation, you should seek alternative accommodation, or get in touch with your local authority

Find out more

Enforcement by Portsmouth City Council

Portsmouth City Council are taking a pragmatic approach to enforcement in line with guidance from the government. Our revised Enforcement Policy can be found here.