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Coronavirus: agents warned they could end up breaking the law

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.

  • Mark Wilson

    Another panic article! Lets just all stay home under the sheets.

    PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    To be fair, I don't see the article as raising panic, but highlighting some potential issues we could face, I would say some Landlords definitely will face it.

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    • 12 March 2020 19:33 PM

    Most LL will request their tenants confirm they are well.
    If not they will require confirmation they are not well to have contractors attend the flat.
    No way will LL allow tenants to game the system.
    Personally I would attend a property and remove the occupants to allow contractors to carry out works.
    Tough if the tenants object!

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    I think that's called Illegal Eviction Paul ?

    • 15 March 2020 07:30 AM

    No eviction just entry into the property to carry out legal obligations etc whether the tenant likes it or not.
    Can't see many Councils wanting to prosecute a LL who is endeavouring to carry out repairing and gas cert etc requirements.

  • Bryan Shields

    Be practical, the tenant & tradesmen attending a repair can arrange a mutual resolution that won't prevent a timely repair.

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    I wonder if some of you actually read the article. The point raised is a valid one regards the boiler for example. What gas engineer in his right mind would want to enter a property in those circumstances even if the tenants are standing in the garden?
    As for the new electrical deadline this simply must be pushed back.

  • Matthew Payne

    I know and know of loads of trades who have simply downed tools and wont be working in anyone's home for the forseeable future, so agents and landlords need back up plans in case they get let down. Its tough enough gettting an appt with some of these guys when times are normal. I have also noticed the number of facebook posts increase from people asking for help finding one as X, Y or Z is not working, boilers, immersions etc. I have also heard of van hire companies cancelling bookings, so the supply chain may be affected in ways we had not anticpated.


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