Support, Advice and Experience within the Property Market

Coronavirus and renting

From Robert Ulph on March 31, 2020

In the years I have been writing articles on the housing industry for this paper, I have never needed to caveat a piece by saying that this was the most current information available and it could be subject to change by the time it goes to print.

But we are all living in such unknown times with updates often changing by the day. I will however always endeavour to provide the most current advice to anybody who contacts me and being a Member of the Board, I am fortunate to have access to ARLA Propertymark, who work closely with Government to provide their members with all the latest information.

Due to the challenges facing the industry in relation to Coronavirus, ARLA Propertymark has addressed the issues with Government in order to gain answers – including clarification and guidance for those working in the sector. Most recently, ARLA Propertymark has raised the following with Government:

They have asked the Government to solve rent issues so rent continues to flow. To ensure this happens ARLA Propertymark has asked that Government suspend the five weeks Universal Credit (UC) payments and ask that all UC payments are made in full and are paid directly to the properties letting agent/ landlord as soon as a claim made.

Right to Rent and Anti-Money Laundering checks
Both Right to Rent and Anti-Money Laundering require face-to-face checks. In order to reduce the spread of the disease, they have asked the Government to suspend them until after the crisis.

Electrical and gas safety checks
Again, to avoid the spread of Coronavirus, ARLA Propertymark is asking the Government to postpone these checks. By doing this, it will enable contractors to stay safe and also gives tenants reassurance that contractors will not have to enter their properties until after the crisis.

The Government needs to clarify the appropriate procedures that should be undertaken by agents and landlords with the best interests of all parties in mind. If, for example, a boiler breaks down in a tenant’s home where someone is self-isolating or has the virus, what steps should tenants, agents, and landlords take to rectify the problem without putting people in risk of catching the virus. Legal obligations under these circumstances can’t be carried out by agents and landlords due to the risk of catching and spreading the virus.

In addition, ARLA Propertymark is in daily dialogue with officials at MHCLG, the Treasury, the Home Office and the Department of Health to press for the suspension of compliance requirements which involve mandatory face-to-face contact.

As always, if you have any questions on these issues or anything in the local property market, please call me.

In the meantime, I wish you all the best to stay safe and well.