Covid-19 Government Advice For Letting Agents & Landlords
As restrictions are beginning to lift across the UK, we’re starting to get a taste of a more “normal” lifestyle. With these latest changes, the Government have updated their guidance for Letting Agents and Landlords.
Understandably the safety of tenants and those involved in the rental process remains the top priority in this latest update. You’ll also see that alongside this new advice, there’s further guidance on performing expected tenancy tasks (such as repairs and cleaning) which can be found following the links.
The Latest Government Advice For Agents & Landlords
- Landlords and letting agents should not conduct viewings in properties where tenants are symptomatic or self-isolating.
- In other cases (such as where tenants have been determined to be clinically extremely vulnerable) where viewings can proceed, they should be conducted in line with the guidance on viewings earlier in this document.
- Any visits to a property must be made in accordance with government’s guidelines on working in other people’s homes and social distancing.
- If possible, necessary repairs, gas and electrical safety checks should be conducted in the period between a property being vacated and a new tenant moving in. If this is not possible and visits are needed to an occupied property, this should be done by appointment with measures put in place to ensure physical contact is minimised, for example with residents staying in another room during the visit.
- Letting agents may also want to consider obtaining landlord and tenant consent for inventory clerk appointments to also occur before a tenant moves in or after a tenant moves out during vacant periods if possible.
- Letting agents and landlords should take steps to ensure any properties are prepared ready for new tenants. This may include cleaning to minimise any potential spread of the coronavirus in line with government advice.
- Letting agents and landlords should consider how best to conduct tenancy check-ins for new tenancies agreed, taking care to follow government advice on social distancing and public health advice to minimise the possible spread of coronavirus.
- Letting agents and landlords are reminded of the temporary COVID-19 measures that adjust right to rent checks, temporarily allowing these checks to be conducted remotely. Lettings agents and landlords should consider other areas where in-person payments, referencing or checks can be conducted remotely instead and take further legal or professional advice if required to implement properly.
- Moves into a house in multiple occupation (HMO) are allowed. However, there may be additional risks involved in moving into an HMO at this time which is why it is important that all involved take reasonable precautions. During viewings, tenants that share an HMO are advised to stay out of indoor common areas, such as kitchens, bathrooms or sittings areas, during a viewing. If it is not a tenant’s own private room that is being viewed they can also remain inside their room with the doors closed.
- Moves into student accommodation are allowed. Letting agents, universities and accommodation providers should consider how best to conduct tenancy check-ins, following the latest public health advice and taking reasonable steps to reduce transmission.
How We’re Working With Inventories & Property Visits
With inventories and property visits playing a key and regular role during tenancies. Property Inventory Companies, including ourselves, have adapted and adjusted how these inspections are completed. These adjustments are here to ensure inspections can go ahead as safely as possible.
Covid-19 Property Inventory Procedures
To keep these inspections as covid compliant as possible our existing safety measures remain operational:
- Contactless key transfers
- Stringent sanitation processes
- Vacant property inspections. In the cases of the tenant being present, we will request that they wait in their vehicle or outside
- Virtual property visits (mid-term inspections)
- You can find a full list of all our Covid processes here https://www.hinchpm.com/covid-19/
We’re Here To Help
We understand the true gravity of the situation, its effect on our businesses and most importantly, our friends and family. We want to assure you that not only are we here to help with inventories, check ins or check outs – we’re also available at the end of the phone for a lighthearted, informal natter.