The government has been called upon to issue specific Coronavirus guidance for the rental sector.
The chief executive of the Association of Residential Letting Agents, David Cox, has called on the government to guide the industry, especially if the outbreak leads to practical emergencies involving tenants and landlords.
On the ARLA website, this example is given. “If a tenant were to have the virus or be in a period of self-isolation, what happens if something goes wrong in the property (for example the boiler stops working). The landlord or agent or contractor will not go in to avoid contracting the disease and spreading the pandemic” says Cox.
“However, that means there is a tenant with no hot water or heating for two weeks or longer if the government extends the period of self-isolation. This puts the landlord or agent in breach of Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, any selective or additional or mandatory licensing conditions [as well as] the Homes Act 2019, Housing Health and Safety Rating System under Housing Act 2004.”
Breaching these laws could open the landlords and/or agents to unlimited liability and/or a Banning Order explains Cox.
Cox’s request for specific guidance has also raised concerns regarding the consequential impact the virus will have on agents and landlords when getting themselves ready for new electrical regulations which comes into force in July.
He flagged that government may want to consider relaxing the deadlines to give both the industry and supply chain longer to become compliant.