The government has provided guidance for landlords on the provisions in the Coronavirus Act 2020.
In the second of our series of advice for landlords, Kally Singh summarises this information and outlines common questions landlords are asking at this time:
What does the current situation mean for repairs to my property?
Planned inspections may be more difficult at this time, however landlords’ repair obligations have not changed. Tenants have a right to a decent, warm and safe place to live – and it is in the best interests of both tenants and landlords to ensure that properties are kept in good repair and free from hazards.
Instead of in-person inspections you might consider ‘virtual’ inspections by using video calling on a smartphone to inspect the property or to review an issue reported by a tenant.
Where reasonable and safe for you, and in line with other Government guidance, you should make every effort to review and address issues brought to your attention by your tenants, and keep records of your efforts.
Work carried out in people’s homes, for example by tradespeople carrying out repairs and maintenance, can continue, provided that the tradesperson is well and has no symptoms. However, it will be important to ensure that Public Health England guidelines, including maintaining a two-metre distance from any household occupants, are followed to ensure everyone’s safety.
No work should be carried out in any household which is isolating or where an individual is being shielded, unless it is to remedy a direct risk to the safety of the household, such as emergency plumbing or repairs, and where the tradesperson is willing to do so. In such cases, Public Health England can provide advice to tradespeople and households.
Inspectors or maintenance workers can still visit blocks of flats and multi-occupied properties for essential or urgent work such as inspecting and testing fire alarm and emergency lighting systems.
Urgent health and safety issues are those which will affect your tenant’s ability to live safely and maintain their mental and physical health in the property. This could include (but is not limited to):
- If there is a problem with the fabric of the building, for example the roof is leaking
- If your boiler is broken, leaving your tenant without heating or hot water
- If there is a plumbing issue, meaning your tenant does not have washing or toilet facilities
- If the white goods such as fridge or washing machine have broken, meaning the tenant is unable to wash clothes or store food safely
- If there is a security-critical problem, such as a broken window or external door
- If equipment a disabled person relies on requires installation or repair