England is now subject to National lockdown: Stay at Home restrictions. You must stay at home.
The John Pounds Centre will reopen some of its services from the Monday 7 December until the Wednesday 23 December. During this period, we will open the Portsea Area Office (located inside The John Pounds Centre) on an appointment only basis. We will continue to service our tenants needs remotely at all other times. This will be reviewed after Christmas when it is hoped that we may be able to open the office more fully.
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 a Portsmouth City Council tenant please call your local housing office to find out what support is available to you.
Following the latest government coronavirus advice, we are now able to undertake all repairs as long as no issues have been highlighted when we carry out the risk assessment, and that the resident or anyone living in their home is not self-isolating or has confirmed COVID-19.
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.
How the repair appointment is arranged and agreed with the resident will depend on the type of repair:
Urgent essential repair – if the repair is urgent or essential we will make an appointment that is convenient with the resident.
An urgent essential repair is either an immediate risk to the safety and comfort of the resident and/or is likely to cause further damage to the property including the following examples;
Non-urgent essential repair – when a non-urgent essential repair is received we will make an appointment that is a convenient date for the resident, with a minimum one week lead-in period.
Non-urgent essential repairs are not an immediate risk to the safety and comfort of the resident and/or likely to immediately cause further damage to the property. They are also not extensive works requiring organisation by the service provider. They are, however, repairs required to the property or causing inconvenience to the resident.
Non-essential repair – when a non-essential repair is received we will take the repair details from the resident and share these details with the service provider who will phone the resident as soon as possible to make a convenient appointment.
Non-essential repairs are larger repairs that are typically undertaken over a longer period of time that require organisation by the service provider before being undertaken. The resident is not likely to be inconvenienced by any delay in scheduling the work that includes the following examples;
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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. The latest advice on notice periods can be found on the government website.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
You can find Government advice for landlords on Gov.UK.
If you are a landlord renting to university students we urge you to be as flexible as possible with rent payments.