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Top Tips for Landlords on How to Tackle COVID-19

17th Mar 2020

Category: Property headlines

We’re living in uncertain times. With recommendations from government changing daily, we thought that landlords might find it useful for us to keep a running list of advice on how to tackle the challenges coming out of the Coronavirus pandemic.

  • Maintenance Obligations: The government have given no recommendations on landlords’ maintenance obligations. We must therefore continue to do our upmost to meet our obligations to tenants in regard to maintenance issues that might come up at their property, while treading the tricky line of doing our bit to help stop the spread of the virus. Firstly, we recommend asking a few simple questions to your tenants and contractors before attending any property- if either are showing any signs of symptoms please proceed with caution. Secondly, we recommend that if you have outstanding maintenance you concentrate on clearing these jobs now so that your tenants can live free of any maintenance problems if they are required to self-isolate. This will also give you peace of mind that the jobs are complete if you cannot access the property. Finally, we recommend that you send all your tenants a message with clear instructions on what you expect from them and what they can expect from you. In these circumstances the best thing you can do is keep a clear line of communication open.


  • Other Compliance Obligations: The government have given no recommendations on landlords’ obligations to keep up to date with their compliance obligations. We must proceed as normal with getting certificates updated. We recommend that if you have any certificates coming up for renewal within the next 4 months you get these sorted as soon as possible, rather than waiting for the renewal date which could come further down the line when quarantine may be mandatory. We advise you to particularly consider any gas safety, PAT, EICR and licences.


  • Inspections: At Comfort Lettings we have periodically paused all interim inspections for the safety of our staff and tenants. If you are worried about how the tenants are keeping the property you could request a skype viewing of the property or ask them to send you a video tour.


  • Viewings: If your property is due to come on the market soon, it would be worth considering taking a video of the property and carrying out virtual viewings or asking your agent to do so.


  • Rental Payments: You may be worried about your tenants’ ability to continue to pay their rent. We recommend in the first instance a sensitive approach to rental payment, with a plan in place for any late payment. The good news for tenants is that the government announced a range of measures which should help to support them in paying their rent during COVID-19. It might be helpful to point them to the government website so they can better understand what they are entitled to. For example, SSP will be available from Day One (instead of Day Four) of any sick leave and will be available for anyone advised to self-isolate. If you have any tenants currently on benefits, they will be able to claim these via phone or online, rather than in person and those on ESA can claim from Day One, instead of Day Eight. There are also a range of measures to help support businesses through COVID-19. You can read more about how the spring budget will affect the property industry on ARLA’s website.


If you have any questions we haven’t covered here please let us know in the comments.

Lindsay

Lettings Manager (NFOPP Level 3)

Life-long Nottingham resident Lindsay previously worked as a Senior Negotiator at a fast-paced, multi-branch letting agency. She is fantastically skilled in all aspects of the lettings process and great at building relationships with our landlords. She is excited to dive into her new role as Lettings Manager and has recently completed the Technical Award Level 3 in Residential Lettings and Property Management with ARLA Propertymark.

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