What are landlords’ duties during Covid-19? – This is a question we’ve been asked a lot and with the extension of the UK lockdown period, more and more landlords are being presented with uncertainty over contracts ending, maintenance requests and mandatory safety checks. But what can actually be done during these times to ensure you and your tenants’ safety?
Despite current hardships, you legally need to make sure your property is kept safe and habitable. If you are vulnerable or at risk, arrange for someone to complete maintenance on your behalf and adhere to the current government advice:
- Non-urgent repairs should be dealt pragmatically and are best assessed on a case-by-case basis. Advise your tenants that it will be harder to organise repairs and see if the issue can be resolved later, if possible.
- Urgent repairs such as the failure of white goods or heating and hazardous structural or security issues, advise all involved parties to adhere to the government guidelines on health and safety; https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus. Ask tenants to allow access into their home without direct physical contact and to stay clear of where the repair is being carried out.
Gas Safety Certificate, EPC and EICR
Although you are still legally required to perform the inspections of gas, electricity and energy performance, there is some leniency to support you under the current legislation.
Where it is not possible to arrange the necessary checks within social distancing measures, you need to demonstrate that you have taken all reasonable steps to fulfil your duties. Proof supplied can include copies of correspondence with tenants and tradespeople, as well as evidence showing that it is safe to delay the inspections.
Tenancy End Check-Outs
Where possible, perform an end-of-tenancy inventory several days after the move-out to lower the risk of infection. Alternatively, arrange a video call with your tenant to come to an agreement about any deposit deductions. For the deposit scheme you must include any evidence of deductions confirmed in writing by both parties.
New Tenancies and Right to Rent
The most convenient way to let a new property is digitally (check out www.rentbunk.com). To perform an inventory check safely, provide your new tenant with the resources to complete it themselves. Landlords are currently enjoying our digital inventory service which is beneficial to the tenant as it will be in their favour to accurately reflect the state of the property.
Temporarily, you’re allowed to inspect the right to rent documents electronically. Scans and photos of the documents must be inspected while on a video call with the tenant showcasing their original documents.
During these times you can look at alternative ways of letting and managing your properties. Bunk is offering free consultations to landlords interested in learning about new low-cost solutions which give you full control over your properties. Bunk utilises the latest technology to overcome the challenges of the market and has completed tenancies from advertising to move-in in less than 3 days during the peak of COVID-19 – with no human contact.