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Guidance to landlords

Guidance to Landlords on seeking entry

A landlord should be aware of the most up to date Government guidance.

You should take steps to find out if your tenant is shielding or self-isolating. If they are not, you may carry out a range of works including:

  • routine inspections, including annual gas safety checks;
  • essential and non-essential repairs and maintenance; and
  • planned maintenance activity inside and outside the home.

Services should be designed to allow a two-metre distance to be maintained (insofar as possible) and hygiene procedures should be followed.

However, if a tenant is self-isolating or shielding, no work should be carried out in their home unless it is to remedy a direct risk that affects their safety or the safety of their household.

Any work carried out in people’s homes must be carried out in accordance with Government guidance.

Landlords and letting agents should not conduct viewings in properties where tenants are symptomatic or self-isolating, or where they have been determined clinically extremely vulnerable and are shielding.

Viewings that do proceed should be conducted in line with the guidance on viewings included in the guidance on moving home during the coronavirus (COVID-19) period in England.

Landlords and letting agents should not conduct viewings in properties where tenants are symptomatic or self-isolating, or where they have been determined clinically extremely vulnerable and are shielding.

Gas Safe

Landlords should not suspend all gas safety checks at this time. This is a legal duty to repair and maintain gas pipework, flues and appliances in a safe condition, to ensure an annual gas safety check on each appliance and flue, and to keep a record of each safety check. During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, there is a balance between ensuring people, including the vulnerable, are protected from possibly fatal risks arising from carbon monoxide exposure or gas explosion, while doing what we can to protect people from COVID-19.

Where it is not possible to carry out a gas safety check, it will normally be enough to show that you took reasonable steps to do so. In the event you are unable to gain access to the property, eg refusal of access due to tenants self-isolating, or if you are unable to engage a registered gas engineer to carry out the work due to a shortage of available engineers, you will be expected to demonstrate that you took reasonable steps to comply with the law. You should seek to arrange the safety check as soon as all parties are available.

Any work carried out in people’s homes must be carried out in accordance with Government guidance.

Right to Rent checks

Right to rent checks have been temporarily adjusted due to COVID-19, to make it easier for landlords to carry them out.

As of 30 March 2020 the following temporary changes have been made:

  • checks can now be carried out over video calls
  • tenants can send scanned documents or a photo of documents for checks using email or a mobile app, rather than sending originals
  • Landlords should use the Landlord’s Checking Service if a prospective or existing tenant cannot provide any of the existing documents.

Landlord advice to tenants in shared properties

Landlords who manage communal areas in houses in multiple occupation are advised to provide tenants with information on how they can protect their health when using communal areas or how to self-isolate.

A person who is in a shared household who is self-isolating due to symptoms or potential exposure should share the information with the remaining tenants of the property. This will ensure the remaining tenants can take the necessary precautions and self-isolate if required. The self-isolated tenant should follow all recommendations on how to protect others from the spread of the virus that is given by the Government and keep informed of any changes to the advice that is given.

If a resident of an HMO has coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, all residents will be required to take part in whole household isolation for 14 days minimum.

Please ensure that you are adhering to the most up to date advice given by the Government.

Sharing a bathroom

If a self-isolated renter shares a toilet or bathroom, then ideally the tenants should set up a rota so that self-isolated person uses the bathroom last for washing. They should not use towels anyone else uses and should the clean the bathroom thoroughly before leaving to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

Sharing a kitchen

It is recommended that the self-isolated person should use the kitchen after everyone else and take their food back to their room or their isolated area. The best way to wash up is with a dishwasher, crockery and should not be shared.

If additional information and advice is released regarding shared properties or landlords in the private sector, we will update this page.

Staying at home

The government has set out guidance on how long to isolate at home for in the event you or a member of the household shows the relevant symptoms.

The timescales vary depending on your individual household so please ensure you are adhering to the most up to date advice.