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Rented properties

Landlords and tenants – rented properties restrictions relaxed

Landlords and tenants can once again view and inspect rented properties after the relaxation of lockdown restrictions in England last week.

Landlords and tenants can now:

  • visit estate agents or letting agents
  • view rented properties
  • prepare a rented property to move in
  • move home
  • visit rented properties to undertake activities required for the letting of the property

The government has also updated the Guidance on working in other people’s homes. This relates to any worker who enters someone’s home during the coronavirus pandemic. The guidance also applies to estate and letting agents in relation to property viewings and to landlords and/or their contractors in relation to inspections and maintenance.

What this means for landlords

You can now offer viewings of your rented property, but wherever possible these should be virtual viewings. Physical viewings should take place by appointment only and with minimal people present. If anyone at the property is shielding or self-isolating, physical viewings should not take place.

Social distancing measures must be followed when a viewing takes place in person. If there are any existing tenants present, they should go outside during the viewing.

The Government recommendations include:

  • Make hand washing facilities and hand sanitiser available
  • Provide paper towels
  • Avoid touching surfaces, switches and handles. Leave doors and windows and doors open to assist with this and allow air flow through the property.
  • Wash keys after every viewing.
  • Landlords/lettings agents should not drive clients to viewings to adhere to social distancing

Property inspections and repairs

During the pandemic landlords still have a legal obligation to keep rental properties in repair and to carry out inspections and maintenance. Following the changes last week, landlords can proceed to undertake inspections and any repairs, as long as they or their contractors follow the updated guidance. This includes adhering to social distancing; the tenant leaving the property while they are in attendance; and agreeing with the tenant when the inspection/repairs will be carried out.

If a tenant is self-isolating or shielding, you should not undertake any inspections or maintenance works. If you urgently need to carry out repairs while a tenant is self-isolating or shielding, then you should seek the tenant’s permission and make arrangements for a suitable date and time. You and any contractors should wear PPE when you visit the property if possible.

The new rules on electrical safety certificate which come in from 1 July 2020, have not been postponed and therefore electrical and gas safety inspections can be carried out, as long as the guidance is followed.

What this means for tenants

If your tenancy is coming to an end and your landlord wishes to arrange viewings of the property, this is now allowed. However, if you are self-isolating or shielding, your landlord should not allow any physical viewings. The rules on eviction that came into force on 26th March remain in place – read more.

As outlined above, your landlord is still obliged to make essential repairs to the property and can now also carry out inspections. Anyone coming into the property must follow the guidance and they must agree with you beforehand when they will arrive.

If you have any questions regarding these issues or if you feel that your landlord or tenant is breaking the rules, talk to us. Call 0114 220 1795 or email disresenquiry@pm-law.co.uk.

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