For up to date news and information see the gov.uk website; https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
And NHS website; https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
Tenants may seek advice from their landlord, in which case they should be directed to the gov.uk and NHS website above. In the event that a tenant needs to self isolate, be sympathetic and reiterate the NHS advice.
As of 23rd March 2020, all UK residents must stay at home, only going outside for basic necessities/food, medical need/vulnerable person care, one form of exercise per day & essential work (staying 2 meters away from people). Hands to be washed as soon as residents return home.
Tenants income may be impacted thus increasing the risk of rent arrears. Discuss this with your tenant and be flexible where you can. Keep evidence of the tenants request (in writing) and your agreed solution (to be reviewed on a month by month basis), be clear that arrears payments will be negotiated at a later date. If your tenant falls into serious rent arrears which impacts your finances, keep your mortgage lender informed and they may be able to offer support to you, this will be on a case by case basis. The Government has introduced financial support packages for businesses and self-employed, all support package information can be found here; https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support/
You could call or email elderly or medically vulnerable tenants to check they have access to support should the need arise. If they do not have support, they can contact their local authority who can put emergency measures in place. If they are unable to do this, landlords could call on their behalf.
HMOs will have a higher risk of illness spreading. If a tenant reports symptoms or self isolation to you, you should advise other tenants within the property to read the NHS guidelines and follow hygiene guidance. You should also make tradespeople aware if they are visiting that property for emergency purposes.
Landlords remain legally obligated to to ensure properties meet the required standard. Urgent, essential health and safety repairs should be made.
You should delay all non essential visits/repairs, documenting them and agreeing with your tenant to address them at a later date.
Respect your tenant’s decisions to self isolate, remember that they have the right to exclude all others from their home. If you cannot meet your landlord obligations (i.e. gas safety check, electrical inspection etc) due to a tenant self isolating, keep evidence of the dialogue (ideally email/letter) and inform the Local Authority. After the self-isolation period, you should organise the inspection and or repairs when it’s convenient for your tenant.
On 28th March 2020 the Government released a non-statutory guidance document for landlords and tenants;
SWLA will support our members within office hours with telephone enquiries (please leave a message and we will return your call) and email enquiries. Our office is closed, however we are still working to support our members. We will follow Government guidance and keep members up to date and answer any letting related queries that arise.