Repairs and Covid-19

On 21st June 2021 the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government published updated Covid-19 guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities. The update coincided with the extension of Step 3 of the Covid-19 roadmap.

The guidance is advisory, but the government urges all landlords and tenants to abide by the guidance.

During the initial lockdown period in 2020, many social landlords and local authorities placed repairs and inspections on hold save for in the most urgent of cases. The current guidance confirms that it is vital that local authorities, landlords and tenants work together to keep rented properties safe.

The guidance states that landlords can carry out normal services to properties including both urgent and routine repairs, safety inspections and planned maintenance as long as they are undertaken in line with the latest public health advice and Covid-19 legislation. 

No work should be carried out in a household where someone is isolating because of Covid -19 symptoms unless the work required is to remedy an issue which is a risk to the safety of the household or the public. If urgent works are required, prior arrangements should be made to avoid face to face contact.

If anyone in a household is clinically extremely vulnerable non urgent work and routine inspections should only be taken at the discretion of the individuals involved and significant precautions should be taken to avoid infection. Again, prior arrangements should be made to ensure social distancing. 

There will clearly be a backlog of repairs that will need to be addressed and tenants need to understand things may take a bit longer than usual and landlords should look to prioritise repairs. The guidance states that efforts should be made by landlords to abide by existing gas safety regulations and carry out annual safety inspections. 

Whilst some understanding is needed for individual circumstances, if tenants are refusing access to their properties and they are not self-isolating or clinically extremely vulnerable landlords still have the ability to apply to the court for an injunction requiring the tenant to give access to the property. 

The guidance and Covid-19 legislation have been subject to frequent changes over the last 15 months, and it is important to keep up to date with the changes. If you have any queries about the current guidance on repairs or access to a property during the pandemic, please do not hesitate to contact the team. 

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