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COVID-19 – Essential Landlord/Tenant Information

By Lorraine Walker

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s get straight to the point:

  • Keep communicating and talk/work with each other to resolve any issues.   Document all actions and if necessary record why you took the actions you did.
  • Tenants should notify landlords if they show symptoms and/or contract the virus.  Landlords should nominate a deputy in case they fall ill.  In HMO’s/multiple tenancies and a tenant becomes symptomatic, all other occupants should be told so they can follow isolation guidance.
  • If staff are employed to work in a property such as a cleaner for rooms, communal areas etc,  Government advice/legislation must be adhered to and so they may not be attending work.   If their salary forms part of a tenant’s rent, is a rent reduction appropriate if the tenants agree to do the cleaning themselves?
  • If a tenant is in financial difficulty over this period – consider all options.  (NB: Nobody is entitled to a rental holiday and so if a tenant can pay, they should to avoid arrears in the future).     Can parties negotiate a rent reduction? – it’s better to have some money coming in than none at all.  If a rental holiday is agreed, discuss and agree how/when the rent is going to be repaid and record the agreement.   Landlords should check insurance policies on how/when to trigger payment of rent clauses.
  • Having somewhere to live is essential and people may still be looking to move or may need to move so when marketing/viewing properties consider doing this by video link.    It must be a true and honest picture of the property and so make sure you show/see all of the property and its nooks and crannies.  Ask about or highlight any issues to avoid problems in the future.    
  • Property inspections at this time may be difficult on check-out.  Work with each other on how best to do these – photographs, separate visits, video links.  Time limits for returning/disputing deposits still stand.
  • Gas safety checks and essential repairs on health & safety grounds should continue with a tenant’s permission.  Ensure parties keep their social distance and put in plans if a tenant is self-isolating.   If a contractor can’t be found to do the work then a record of all those that have been contacted together with reasons why they couldn’t assist should be kept.    The Council’s stance on enforcement is currently unknown.
  • Electrical installation inspections and testing are being introduced for all new tenancies in England from 1 July 2020 this year.   Nothing has been said yet about a delay in implementation.
  • Possessions Hearings – these have been removed from court listings until the middle of June 2020 in the first instance when the position will be reviewed.
  • None of this applies to lodgers, licences or agricultural tenancies.

If you wish to discuss any landlord or tenant issues, then please contact Lorraine Walker on 02476 387 821 or 07458 027 010 or by email at lwalker@willsonslegal.co.uk.

Despite our office being closed, Willsons Solicitors remain open for business.   Our staff, who are working from home, are committed to delivering and maintain their usual high standards of service and are able to discuss any legal issues you may have by oral/video calls and email.    Our main switchboard number is 02476 387821 or email us through our website or at enquiries@willsonslegal.co.uk.

We wish you all well and please stay indoors!

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