Minimising health risks in rented properties
Local authorities, landlords and tenants should continue to work together to keep rented properties safe. It is in the best interests of both tenants and landlords to ensure these properties are in good repair free from serious hazards.
The risk of infecting others is increased in houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) where individuals live in close proximity and share amenities.
If you are responsible for cleaning shared areas in HMOs (i.e. kitchens, bathrooms, hallways/stairs etc), you may wish to increase cleaning in these areas. Landlords and Managing Agents can find advice to assist with cleaning accommodation and general hygiene standards in non-healthcare settings, such as HMO’s, hostels and other shared accommodation.
It is important that tenants in shared properties inform the property manager and their fellow tenants if they have symptoms or have tested positive. Tenants should follow the latest stay at home guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus infection.
Landlords’ repair obligations have not changed. However, we recommend that landlords and tenants engage constructively about access to a property.
Local authorities, landlords or contractors can safely access properties to carry out a range of works, including routine safety inspections including gas and electrical, essential and non-essential repairs and planned or unplanned maintenance inside and outside the home.
No work should be carried out in households that are isolating because one or more family members has symptoms unless it is to remedy a direct risk to the safety of the household or the public.
Any work should be undertaken in line with the working safely guidance.
Contractors and tenants may also wish to contact Public Health England for further guidance when a property repair is required, and the tenant is self-isolating.
Visit the government website for guidance on visits to properties to make repairs.
Gas and electric safety inspections
Landlords should make every effort to abide by gas safety regulations and electrical safety regulations which came into force on 1 July 2020. There are provisions to account for situations in which a landlord may not have been able to do this, but landlords must demonstrate they have taken all reasonable steps.
If you are unable to gain access to the property due to COVID-19 restrictions or cannot get a contractor to carry out the necessary work, we recommend you document your attempts to do so and all correspondence with your tenants. Follow gas safety guidance.
Fire safety in your property
With more people staying at home, the London Fire Brigade has warned of the potential for more fires in the home and are calling for people to think, take action and avoid becoming a further casualty for the NHS.
Landlords need to ensure their properties meet fire safety standards. Some basic measures include fitting and testing smoke alarms on every floor, ensuring that furniture and furnishings are fire resistant, getting gas and electrical systems regularly inspected, and working with tenants to ensure they report any problems with fire safety to their landlord as soon as possible.
Property licences have specific conditions relating to fire safety – please also check to see what you need to do.
Government support available for landlords and tenants
The government’s temporary ban on evictions and stay on possession hearings which had been put in place through the pandemic has ended.
All landlords are now able to progress their possession claims through the courts, and from 1 October 2021, all notice periods returned to the pre-pandemic position.
Further information on the understanding the possession action process for landlords and tenants.
During this national crisis, the council is diverting resources to our most critical services to ensure our most vulnerable residents continue to receive the care they need. You can still contact us using the details below and we will respond to you as soon as possible.
- Telephone: 020 8825 9512
- Email: PRSlicensing@ealing.gov.uk