Housing minister Chris Pincher has written an open letter to all landlords and agents in England, telling them how to enact the government’s so-called Winter Plan to tackle rising cases of Covid-19.
The emphasis is on agents and landlords making sure that all rental properties can be properly ventilated to minimise the spread of Covid-19 and particularly the new Omicron strain in enclosed spaces.
There are five key messages in Pincher’s letter:
1. Ensure that all habitable rooms have functioning openable windows (including providing replacement keys where these have been misplaced/lost) – ideally with opening areas of at least 1/20th of the floor area;
2. Ensure that all bathrooms/kitchens have either functioning openable windows and/or (preferably both) appropriate functioning extract ventilation;
3. Consider installing positive pressure or constant run ventilation systems to ensure there is adequate background ventilation and to reduce the likelihood of condensation, and ensure that such systems are operating effectively, with filters etc replaced at appropriate intervals;
4. Ensure that tenants have clear instructions and understand how to operate ventilation and heating systems, and are advised on the best ways to achieve a healthy and economic balance of heating, ventilation and moisture production within the home;
5. Ensure that problems with damp are fully investigated and addressed promptly.
Pincher continues: “We also request that you prioritise as far as possible any planned or known works that might improve ventilation, such as repairing broken safety catches on windows for those concerned about security or a fall hazard. This guidance does not cover single person households, though we would advise that single households still follow guidance if they have visitors in their home.”
Pincher then gives additional ‘key messages’ which landlords can pass on to tenants about the importance of ventilation, which can be downloaded along with the letter in full here.