The latest COVID-19 guidance for Landlords

 

Updated 14th May 2020 15:30

On Tuesday 12th May the Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick announced that estate and letting agents could reopen under new strict social distancing guidelines.  This is great news for both landlords and tenants.  So here is what you need to know about the new guidelines we will all need to follow.

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The safety of tenants and the protection of property has always been our number one priority.  We welcome the news from the government to allow estate and letting agent agents to return to work and will ensure that this is done in a safe and responsible way. In line with government’s advice, we will respect those who are shielding or otherwise clinically vulnerable and are staying at home and avoiding unnecessary contacts over this period.

The guidelines contained on this page are in addition to the following government guidance on coronavirus and renting, which explains these protections in greater detail.

Is it possible to gain possession of my property?

The government has put in place protections for tenants during the coronavirus outbreak, including legislation to delay when landlords are able to start proceedings to evict tenants. This means until 30 September 2020, most landlords will not be able to start possession proceedings unless they have given their tenants three-months’ notice.

Can periodic inspections be carried out on my property?

Yes, so long as the tenant agrees and they are not self-isolating or they are not considered to be clinically vulnerable.  All visits to properties should only be done where absolutely necessary and by appointment only.  Visits should be made in accordance with government’s guidelines on working in other people’s homes and social distancing.

Is it possible to conduct viewings on my property?

Yes, but viewings should not be conducted in properties where tenants are symptomatic or self-isolating, or where it has been determined that they are clinically extremely vulnerable and are shielding.  In other cases, where viewings can proceed, they should be conducted in line with the following guidance from the government:

  • All viewings should take place by appointment and only involve members of a single household.
  • We encourage people to do their property searching online wherever possible. Initial viewings should be done virtually wherever this is possible and physical viewings should only be conducted where applicants are seriously considering making an offer on a property.
  • To support this, agents may ask home occupiers to conduct virtual viewings. This will help reduce the number of properties people need to visit before finding their future home.
  • Viewings should be conducted by appointment only and no open house viewings should take place.
  • If your property is being viewed, you should open all the internal doors prior to the viewing, and allow access to handwashing facilities and ideally separate towels/paper towels.
  • As most people choose to do, we encourage that you vacate your property whilst viewings are taking place in order to minimise your contact with those not in your household.
  • When viewing a property, all parties should wash their hands and avoid touching surfaces where possible. Agents will ask you to restrict the number of people who accompany you on a viewing so that social distancing can be practised, and only those in your immediate household should be there.
  • We expect agents to accompany clients on a viewing but follow social distancing rules wherever possible. Where viewings are unaccompanied, agents should make sure viewers and homeowners understand how they should conduct themselves.
  • Once the viewing has taken place, the homeowner should ensure surfaces, such as door handles, are cleaned with standard household cleaning products and towels disposed of safely or washed as appropriate.

Can maintenance work and safety inspections be carried out at my property?

Yes, as long as the tenant agrees and is not self-isolating, shielding or otherwise clinically vulnerable.  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.

Can I get a rental valuation of my property?

Yes, The Property Hive are able to provide market appraisals for landlords.  In circumstances where our colleagues are visiting your property, it is important that a safe distance of at last 2 meters is maintained at all times.  Where possible, other residents should remain outside of the property during the visit to reduce the number of individuals inside.  Representatives will be wearing protective equipment including face coverings and gloves.  They will not touching any surfaces, so you will need to keep doors open so that they do not need to touch anything.  All surfaces should be cleaned by the homeowner following the visit.  There is also lots we can do with the aid of technology and where necessary can access and see your property remotely allowing us to provide an accurate valuation of your home.  For more information, please give us a buzz on 01302 247754 or book you free valuation here.

Is it possible to start Marketing my property for let? 

Yes, The Property Hive have a range of digital marketing options available to us that will showcase your property to a wide audience. Our professional photographer is able to visit your home to take pictures. When visiting your property our representatives will will need to keep a safe distance of two meters and will be wearing protective equipment including face coverings and gloves to keep you and themselves safe.  They will not touching any surfaces, so you will need to present the property and stage it appropriately and keep doors open so that they do not need to touch anything. Where possible, all residents should remain outside of the property during the visit to reduce the number of individuals inside and all surfaces should be cleaned by the homeowner following the visit.

If you are wanting to list your property for let, please give us a buzz on 01302 247754.

Do any special measures need to be taken before a tenant can move in?

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 virus in line with government advice. Letting agents and landlords should consider how best to conduct tenancy check-ins for new tenancies agreed while broader measures remain in place, taking care to follow government advice on social distancing to minimise possible spread of coronavirus.

Is it possible for people to move right now? 

Yes, removal firms are able to operate, although they may need to adjust usual procedures in order to ensure moves happen as safely as possible, the government guidelines state the following:

  • We encourage you to contact removal firms as early as possible in advance of your move.
  • You and your household should also try and do as much of the packing yourself as possible. However, where this is not possible, you should speak to your removal firms in advance.
  • We ask that, where possible, you clean your belongings, with standard domestic cleaning products before they are handled by others, including removal firms.
  • Whilst the removers are in your home, you should ensure any internal doors are open and seek to minimise your contact with the crew, maintaining a distance of at least 2 metres where possible.
  • All parties should wash their hands and avoid touching surfaces where possible to reduce the risk of transmitting the coronavirus.
  • You should not provide refreshments but you should ensure they have access to hand washing facilities, using separate towels or paper towels if possible, which should be washed or disposed of safely afterwards.

Can people still collect Keys for my property? 

Yes, it is possible to arrange for keys to be collected from The Property Hive offices and social distancing precautions have been put in place to ensure all parties are protected. In some instances, a secure key box can be used.  All keys will be cleaned prior to collection.

 

If you have any questions during this time, why not give The Property Hive a buzz on 01302 247754, we’re here to help and we can make it happen. 

More information regarding the government guidelines can be found here.

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