Landlords welcome opening of housing market
Article Posted - 13th May 2020
Landlords are today welcoming the government’s decision to open up the housing market, which will include the lettings market.
Landlords can now hold viewings and allow tenants to move in and out of rental homes – provided they follow social distancing measures.
Ben Beadle, chief executive of the NRLA, said: “Tenants will now be able to look for a new home and move into it whilst those landlords who have unexpectedly faced empty properties will be able to put them back on the market.
“It is vital though that all viewings and house moves take place safely and in line with the Government’s guidance. We will continue to work with the government, landlords and others to ensure that the risks of spreading coronavirus are minimised.”
Announcing that the market would reopen Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “Today I am announcing new guidelines to allow the housing market to resume. Our clear plan will enable people to move home safely, covering each aspect of the sales and letting process from viewings to removals.
“Our step by step plan is based on the latest guidance to ensure the safety and protection of everyone involved.
“This critical industry can now safely move forward, and those waiting patiently to move can now do so.”
The government has this morning issued more detailed guidance. It states:
- Private landlords and letting agents should not conduct viewings 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 guidance on all viewings.
- 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.
- Landlords should make every effort to abide by gas and electrical safety requirements, which continue to be of great importance for tenants’ safety. This may be more difficult due to restrictions associated with the coronavirus outbreak, for example where a tenant has coronavirus symptoms, is self-isolating or shielding. Under such circumstances, provided the landlord can demonstrate they have taken reasonable steps to comply, they would not be in breach. See further Health and Safety Executive guidance on how to deal with specific circumstances. Letting agents may also want to consider obtaining landlord and tenant consent for inventory clerk appointments to also occur before a tenant moves in or after a tenant moves out during vacant periods if possible.
- 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.
- Letting agents and landlords are reminded of the temporary COVID-19 measures that adjust right to rent checks, temporarily allowing these checks to be conducted remotely. Lettings agents and landlords should consider other areas where in person payments, referencing or checks can be conducted remotely instead and take further advice if required.
The full guidance can be accessed here.
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