Resolving Rent Troubles

We know that some students are facing financial hardship as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, and this can impact your ability to pay rent.

If this is the case for you and you're struggling to afford your rent, ask for some help now. The sooner you act, the more options you’ll have.

Where can I get debt advice?

You can contact the University's Financial Wellbeing team by emailing moneymatters@royalholloway.ac.uk or calling + 44 (0) 1784 276109 / 414633. You can also find advice and tips on their ‘Managing Your Money’ page. 

Can I be evicted?

In most cases, not for a while.

If you’re worried about eviction, we recommend that you get legal advice. You can get free legal advice from University of London Housing Services by asking them for an appointment. You can also email them with your query at housing@london.ac.uk or call 020 7862 8880. If you email them, you must use your University email address.

The information below offers an overview and some guidance around current legislation. However, if you find it confusing (like most people) you can ask legal advisors to explain it to you.

  • The Coronavirus Act 2020 has suspended all evictions that require court orders for a further two months, meaning no evictions can take place until at least 1 September 2020.
  • Landlords must now give a minimum of three months’ notice for any evictions of tenants and of some licensees. This will not apply to lodgers of live-in landlords. If your landlord has already issued you with notice, they will not be able to evict you before September 2020.
  • The government has stated this period may be extended. Currently, after three months’ notice expires, the landlord will be able to apply to the court for you to be evicted. However, the government guidance states that even if this does take place, it will likely be a further six to eight weeks, or longer given the current circumstances, for any evictions to go through the courts. 
  • You still have to pay the rent, even if it’s later than your usual payment date. It has been advised that tenants and landlords are expected to work out a realistic repayment plan for any rent missed in this three month period, taking into account the circumstances. But no law requires landlords to do this. For the full advice from the government, please click here.

If you need guidance in negotiating with your landlord, email the Advice Centre to ask for an appointment.

The below advice outlines the normal situation for evictions. Please note all of this currently still applies but with a minimum of three months’ notice and no court proceedings will take place before September 2020.

If you have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy

  • Your landlord cannot evict you without an order from the court granting him possession of the property.
  • If the landlord wants to evict you, they have to send you a notice requiring possession. This will be either a Section 21 or Section 8 notice.

If you are in a fixed-term tenancy

  • The landlord can only evict you during the fixed term of the tenancy by issuing a Section 8 notice and going to court.
  • The notice must currently be for at least three months under the Coronavirus Act 2020.
  • Once you get to court, If you have less than eight weeks of rent arrears, it is up to the judge to decide whether you should be evicted.
  • You would be able to submit a defence that it was due to financial problems caused by coronavirus.
  • If you have over eight weeks of rent arrears, it is a mandatory ground for eviction, so the judge will allow the eviction.

If you are in a periodic ‘rolling’ tenancy, or your fixed term is ending soon and has not been renewed

  • The landlord can use the accelerated Section 21 process to evict you with three months’ notice, whether you have any rent arrears or not.
  • However, you should always seek advice if you receive an eviction notice, as many of them are invalid, which can significantly delay the eviction.
  • Even with three months’ notice, evictions are suspended until September 2020.

If you have a license agreement for accommodation where the landlord does not live with you (e.g. student halls)

  • Your landlord can only evict you before the end of the fixed term if there is a clause in the contract stating they can do so.
  • Any such clause should set out what notice you should be given.
  • By law, you are entitled to ‘reasonable’ notice, and the landlord still has to apply to the court to evict you.
  • As above, no eviction cases will be heard in court before September 2020.

If you live with your landlord

  • Your landlord can evict you without a court order, and therefore you have no additional protection from this due to the Coronavirus Act 2020. 
  • You are still legally entitled to reasonable notice, unless it is the end of your fixed term.
  • The landlord can change the locks themselves to remove you from the property.
  • It is still a criminal offence to evict you by force or intimidation.

Further support

We appreciate the volume of information being sent your way could be quite overwhelming, so we've created a Coronavirus Hub to give you quick links to key advice, guidance, and our latest news updates. With dedicated pages for housingacademic, and welfare advice, as well as links to government advice and College FAQs, it's your one-stop shop for all the vital information during this time.

The Advice Centre is a free, independent and confidential service for all students here at Royal Holloway. Our friendly, experienced and professional staff will provide a listening ear and offer general and specialist advice. We’re here to support you with a whole range of issues, big and small, and if we’re not the best people to help you with a particular issue, we’ll point you in the right direction.

Email us at advice@su.rhul.ac.uk with any questions or to ask for a phone appointment.