Updated Tuesday 24th March 2020
The government has now instructed all citizens to stay indoors and
they may only leave their homes for one of four reasons set out in the stay
at home guidance. The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has advised that there should not be any in-person viewings, routine inspections or house moves, we are waiting to hear how this affects annual safety inspections and maintenance.
Rent guarantee insurance is no longer being offered to
new or mid-term tenancies. This does not affect existing policies. MakeUrMove are currently unable to offer any new Rent Protection Subscriptions or upgrades.
A three month pause on evictions has been proposed but early
indications show this to now only be an extension of the notice period from 2
to 3 months. As yet we are not sure if this will affect existing fault
Details on the Covid-19
Employee Retention Scheme is available on the government website if you or
your tenants are unable to work please discuss this with your employer.
Self-employed measures are due to be announced.
The general advice from the World Health Organisation includes;
Washing your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub
Maintain a 3 foot distance from anyone that is coughing or sneezing
Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
Keep up to date with the advice of local healthcare providers and government
Globally authorities have confirmed that currently cases outside of China outnumber those confirmed within China with a total of 80,900. The UK now expects to see double the rate of infection every 5 days now and report a serious situation in London.
The UK government announced that we will move into the “delay” phase and estimates that the peak of the virus is some 14 weeks away. This is the second part of the government's action plan to deal with the virus; contain, delay and mitigate.
The delay phase has the objective of slowing the virus and may eventually include all steps identified such as, limiting large gatherings and closing schools.
From Monday 16th March the advice is;
If you have symptoms of a high temperature (above 37.8C) or a new and continuous cough then isolate yourself for a period of 14 days at home. If any member of the family is showing symptoms then the whole family should remain self isolated for 14 days.
Those over the age of 70 years, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems are being asked to take additional care to avoid unnecessary contact with others to prevent a need to seek additional medical attention or health and also protect themselves from the virus.
Presently schools in England and Wales have been asked to cancel trips abroad. They will remain open, this advice remains unchanged.
People over the age of 70 years and those with pre-existing health conditions are being told not to go on cruises.
If you think you have coronavirus you should contact the online coronavirus service provided by NHS 111. Do not visit your GP surgery, a pharmacy or hospital.
Returning from overseas
The government has issued specific advice to those returning from the affected areas and showing symptoms to then stay home and self isolate.
If you have recently returned from the following then you are being asked to self-isolate without symptoms;
Anywhere in Italy on or after 9 March
Specific areas in northern Italy in the last 14 days
Iran in the last 14 days
Hubei province in China in the last 14 days
Daegu, Cheongdo or Gyeongsan in South Korea in the last 14 days
If you are a tenant and are self isolating as a result of recent travels overseas or showing symptoms then we advise that you inform your landlord as soon as possible and limit visitors to the property wherever possible.
Follow the government guidance on staying at home.
If you have access appointments booked in for maintenance, inspections, property visits or viewings then please contact all parties and delay these until after the 7 day period.
What about a viewing I have booked?
Finding a home is stressful, if the property you are viewing has a tenant in place that is self-isolating then all the viewings will be cancelled and you will need to wait the time period to rebook.
If you have symptoms yourself or have returned from one of the areas above then you will need to cancel viewings and self-isolate as directed. If you don’t wish to miss out then make enquiries with the landlord or agent about remote viewings using video software.
You may find it beneficial to send out to all your tenants the above advice and request that they may contact you should they need to self-isolate so you can be sure to record any interactions and timeframes.
If your tenant advises you they are self-isolating for one of the reasons above then you should rearrange any access requirements such as viewings, inspections, safety checks or maintenance until after the time period.
My tenant is fine but what about viewings I have booked in with potential new tenants?
Ask potential tenants to confirm whether they have attended any of the affected areas which recommend self-isolation before confirming. Point out that if they are showing any symptoms to not attend and follow the advice of the government to stay home.
What about my legal obligations for safety checks and maintenance?
The government has yet to issue advice to landlords on the obligations to get their safety checks completed before the anniversary date such as Gas Safety Certificates. These checks are required and you will need to provide copies of the certificates to your tenants, equally if you have breakdowns then contractors will need to attend within a set timeframe to ensure that heating and hot water is available.
You are best to make plans to keep accurate records of communications around this and make arrangements for your gas safety renewals to be completed within the two month window of expiry which allows you to retain the anniversary date. As self-isolation is currently recommended at 7 or 14 days this would give enough time to deal with the renewal.
In the event of maintenance requirements during a period of self-isolation you will need to assess the severity of the situation on each case basis.
We have received a great number of enquiries about rental payments and concerns over being unable to pay rent or mortgages. Currently there are no measures in place to assist, government have suggested considering financial measures as they become necessary.
If you are a tenant and you are concerned about being unable to pay your rent please speak to your agent or landlord as soon as you can about the circumstances you are experiencing.
If you are a landlord with a tenant that is unable to pay rent due to health or work complications as a result of Coronavirus then we would encourage you to speak to your tenant as soon as possible, some measures that landlords have considered include payment holidays or reduced payments on a temporary basis wherever possible. If you have a mortgage then check with your provider on any measures that they are going to bring in which may provide assistance.
We will continue to keep our website up to date with the latest advice.