Covid 19 guidance for tenants
Property access and health and safety obligations for Tenants – Summary
- Landlord obligations have not changed, tenants continue to have a right to a decent, warm and safe place to live
- Tenants should work with their Landlord and use a pragmatic and common sense approach to problems
- Tenants should allow landlords or people doing repairs access to the property whilst maintaining a 2m distance at all times. This may mean having to be in a separate room.
- Avoid moving if possible
- If you think you have the virus tell anyone you share the property with and follow government guidance on social isolating.
- If someone in the property has the virus the landlord is not obliged to provide alternative accommodation.
The Government has produced non-statutory guidance for landlords and tenants in the private and social rented sectors on property access and health and safety obligations in the context of Coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions
Property access and health and safety obligations
The Government is asking everyone to do all they can to help stop coronavirus spreading and has published advice on maintaining strict separation from others wherever possible during this unprecedented time. You can see the latest Government guidance on Coronavirus here www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
As part of the national effort to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak it’s vital that local authorities, landlords and tenants work together to keep rented properties safe. It has never been more important that landlords and tenants take a pragmatic, common-sense approach to resolving issues. Tenants should let their landlords know early if there is a problem and landlords should take the appropriate action.
Stroud District Council is taking a pragmatic approach to enforcement, as recommended by the Government. This means that tenants who are living with serious hazards that a landlord has failed to remedy can still be assured of support. In addition, landlords will not be unfairly penalised where COVID-19 restrictions prevent them from meeting some routine obligations.
What does this mean for repairs in my home?
- Landlords’ repair obligations have not changed. Tenants have a right to a decent, warm and safe place to live
- Good management requires regular review and maintenance of a property, but we understand that planned inspections may be more difficult at this time.
- You should inform your landlord early and engage constructively in the event that there are problems with your property, and the effect of current restrictions should be considered.
- Please apply common sense to non-urgent issues
What if my boiler breaks, or something else happens which is an urgent risk to my health?
- Where reasonable, safe for you and in line with other Government guidance, we recommend that you allow landlords or contractors access to your property in order to inspect or remedy urgent health and safety issues.
- Urgent health and safety issues are those which will affect your ability to live safely and maintain your mental and physical health in your home. This could include:
− Structural problems, for example the roof is leaking
− The boiler is broken, leaving you without heating or hot water
− There is a plumbing issue, meaning you don’t have washing or toilet facilities
− Where provided by the landlord, the fridge or washing machine have broken
− A broken window or external door has made your home insecure
− If equipment a disabled person relies on requires installation or repair
- Further guidance on visits to properties to make repairs can be found here www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close-guidance#work-carried-out-in-peoples-homes
- You must continue to meet your legal and contractual obligations as a tenant, including paying rent where you are able to.
What about the risk of catching the virus, or if I am symptomatic?
- You must follow sensible precautions to keep yourself safe when contractors or others are visiting your property, as outlined in public health guidance found here gov.uk/coronavirus
- Where an issue is critical to your health and safety, we strongly advise you take additional measures such as remaining in separate rooms during any visits and following Government advice on hygiene and cleanliness before, during and after visits.
- You do not need to have direct contact with anyone visiting your property to carry out repairs.
My landlord wants access to my property to conduct viewings for sale or letting, do I have to let them in?
- You and your landlord should follow the Government’s latest guidance necessary to help stop the spread of the virus which you can find here https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus. We recommend that access to a property is only proposed for serious and urgent issues such as those set out above.
What if I have a move planned?
- As far as possible, you should delay moving to a new home while emergency measures are in place to fight coronavirus. You can find specific Government advice on moving here www.gov.uk/guidance/government-advice-on-home-moving-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak
- Anyone with symptoms, self-isolating or shielding from the virus, should follow medical advice and not move home for the time being.
- Where moves do need to go ahead, all those involved should take care to follow Government guidance here: www.gov.uk/coronavirus
What should I do if I think I may have the virus?
- You should follow government guidance on self-isolation, which you can find here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance
- You should tell anyone you share the property with immediately, so that they can take appropriate action and make informed decisions regarding shared areas and access to the property. If your landlord needs to arrange a visit to the property for urgent health and safety reasons, you should also inform them and agree to take sensible precautions.
Someone in my House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) has the virus, is my landlord obliged to remove them or find me another place to stay?
- Nobody can be removed from their home because of the virus.
- Landlords are not obliged to provide alternative accommodation for tenants if others in the property contract the virus.
- If you are living in accommodation which you share with other people, or share facilities with other people, you should follow current Public Health England guidance. If you are having to leave accommodation, you should seek alternative accommodation, or get in touch with your local authority
- You can find Government guidance on cleaning your home to minimise the risk of infection here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-decontamination-in-non-healthcare-settings
- And on what to do if you are in a shared home with someone who may have the virus here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection