Council tenants in Harlow will not face eviction proceedings during the coronavirus pandemic.

Harlow Council has offered reassurance to residents struggling to pay council bills due to the deadly virus outbreak and has confirmed it will be relaxing rules on rent arrears and non-payment of council tax.

Businesses struggling due to Covid-19 will be supported by the government’s recently announced £330 billion national plan, with measures soon to be implemented by the council.

Cllr Mark Ingall, leader of the council, said: “This is a difficult time for many and we know our residents are concerned about their financial situation both now and what it might be in the coming weeks. We can provide the reassurance that we will support those directly affected by the national coronavirus situation.

“At this difficult time people don’t need the extra stresses and strain of not knowing what to do if they can’t pay their council bills. We won’t evict our tenants for non-payment of rent during the crisis and we will look at options for residents temporarily unable to pay their council tax.

“It is however important that residents contact us as soon as they can if they are financially affected so the right support can be provided or new payment plans set up.

“Once the national crisis is over we will work with residents to get their accounts back on track.”

Residents are encouraged to contact the council immediately if their income changes.

A council spokesperson added: “Where people can pay rent and council tax they should continue to do so. Not only will this avoid them building up debt but in particular council tax is a vital income which helps Harlow Council, Essex County Council, Essex Police and Essex Fire Service to provide services that people rely on including services that support vulnerable people.”

The council is also working to find a solution for residents to pay bills while the Civic Centre closes to the public temporarily from Monday, March 23.

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