Landlords and tenants
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak it's vital that the Council, landlords and tenants work together to keep people safe
We remain committed to protecting our communities, however, we appreciate that inspecting properties and taking any necessary actions may be affected by tenants maintaining isolation or the availability of contractors. Landlords may also find it harder to comply with their legal obligations for the same reasons. However, your obligations to your tenants’ have not changed.
Your legal duties will remain the same during this time, but if you consider that you may not be able to comply with them you should take your own legal advice.
Working with tenants and properties
- The Government guidance encourages tenants to inform landlords early and engage constructively in the event that they encounter any issues with the condition of the property. An assessment could be made through photographs, video or live broadcasting by the tenant provided to the landlord or the Council.
- You can take additional measures such as ensuring contractors and tenants remain in separate rooms during any visits, while following Government advice on hygiene and cleanliness before, during and after visits.
- Wherever possible avoid all direct contact between residents and visitors to the property.
- In cases of very serious risk, the effective use of maintaining strict separation to facilitate an inspection should be very carefully considered, taking into account the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and Government guidance.
- However, it might not be possible to inspect a property due to a tenant self-isolating or refusing to allow access.
- In cases of extremely hazardous conditions, alternative accommodation might be considered instead of carrying out emergency repairs.
- You must follow sensible precautions to keep yourself safe when you or your contractors visit a property, as outlined in the public health guidance detailed below:
Guidance for protecting vulnerable people
Guidance for landlords and letting agents
On 13 May, changes to the lockdown measures were announced which lifted some of the restrictions on people moving homes. Properties can now be marketed, and tenants move accommodation. Visits to homes are still to be avoided wherever possible and social distancing rules still apply. The Government has published advice on the procedures and precautions to take during property visits.
Guidance for landlords and tenants | Guidance on changing tenancies
Gas and electrical safety
Landlords should make every effort to abide by existing Electrical, Gas Safety Regulations and continue to work towards compliance with the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 and the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.
There are provisions to account for situations in which a landlord cannot do this, and they must demonstrate they have taken all reasonable steps to comply with the law.
Gas Safe Register advice and guidance
Homes in Multiple Occupation - self-isolation
The Government has issued specific guidance on what to do if someone in the household has contracted the virus, including self-isolating the whole household for 14 days.
- Nobody can be removed from their home because of the virus.
- Landlords are not obliged to provide alternative accommodation for tenants if others in the property contract the virus.
Guidance from the Government on staying at home
Cleaning and hygiene
You may wish to direct your tenants to Government guidance on cleanliness and hygiene for non-medical locations:
Cleaning in non-healthcare settings
During the pandemic, Council officers may decide to inspect a rented property because:
- There is an imminent risk to a tenant's health due to a serious hazard
- A serious hazard was previously identified and may still exist
- The local authority has been made aware that a tenant is vulnerable and it is not clear if they are aware of the presence of hazardous conditions.
Urgent health and safety issues are those which will affect your tenants' ability to live safely and maintain their mental and physical health in the property. This includes, but is not limited to:
- a problem with the fabric of the building, for example the roof is leaking.
- a defective boiler, leaving your tenant without heating or hot water.
- a plumbing issue, meaning your tenant does not have washing or toilet facilities.
- white goods (if included in the tenancy), such as fridges or washing machines which have broken, meaning the tenant is unable to wash clothes or store food safely.
- a security-critical problem, such as a broken external door allowing access to intruders.
- equipment a disabled person relies on requires installation or repair.