Letting agents and contractors can now visit tenants’ homes to carry out a range of essential and non-essential work or maintenance, as long as they are following the guidance on working safely in other people’s homes. This work includes routine inspections, including annual gas safety checks; essential and non-essential repairs and maintenance; and planned maintenance activity inside and outside the home. Local authorities, letting agents, landlords and tenants should continue to work together to keep rented properties safe, notes the government’s guidance, and letting agents and landlords should “make every effort” to carry out routine and statutory inspections.
Inspections, repairs, and maintenance
Both essential and non-essential inspections, repairs and maintenance can now be carried out. A two-metre distance should be maintained as far as possible and hygiene procedures should be followed when works are taking place. The guidance notes that letting agents landlords will likely have a backlog of repairs, so it may take longer than normal to carry out non-essential work on tenants’ homes.
No work should be carried out on properties where tenants are self-isolating or shielding, unless it is to fix an issue that poses a direct risk to their safety. These are issues which will affect a tenant’s ability to live safely and maintain their mental and physical health in their home. In these instances, arrangements should be made to avoid any face to face contact, ensure social distancing guidance is followed and appropriate steps can be taken to maintain good hand hygiene, for example, when answering the door.
Gas safety checks
Letting agents and landlords should also take “all reasonable steps” to carry out annual gas safety checks. “Failure to do so could put tenants at risk of serious illness or fatalities from gas explosions or carbon monoxide poisoning, particularly as people are spending all or most of their time at home,” notes the government’s guidance.
If your tenants are self-isolating or shielding, the gas safety check can be delayed until after their isolation period has ended. If tenants are shielding, a gas safety check or repair should only be carried out if there is a direct gas safety risk to tenants that affects their safety.
This article is intended as a guide only and is based on the guidance for landlords and tenants during coronavirus. It is not exhaustive and does not constitute legal advice. For more information, please refer to gov.uk.