We’re currently facing unprecedented times which will inadvertently make it more challenging to manage your property.
Here’s what we are doing to help our clients.
- Proposed MEES changes
At the time of writing, it’s still unclear where the COVID-19 leaves landlords with the proposed MEES regulatory changes, coming into force this April. As such, we are helping our landlords continue fulfilling their duties ‘business as usual’, by organising safe and responsible EPC checks to identify homes with a rating of F or G; therefore rendering them a breach of the new requirement and leading to financial fines of up to £4,000.
- Inspections and inventories
Understandably, many tenants will feel uneasy about the thought of opening the door for the usual reviews to take place. That’s why we’re communicating with them on a regular basis, adopting new procedures to minimise risk and vetting all involved parties beforehand.
- Check in and out
For those with a vacant property – or tenants in between a move – we want to assure you that our agents are taking every measure to see that every property is thoroughly cleaned and decontaminated; safeguarding the health of our clients and colleagues.
4. Maintenance, Repairs and Upkeep
While we’re being told to stay at home to tackle COVID-19, you may wonder whether you can or should continue having essential work done at your property. This is what the Government currently advises and the measures we should take to ensure any work is done as safely as possible.
Am I allowed?
The good news is yes as long as the work to be carried out is essential and absolutely necessary. The Government has stated that work carried out by tradespeople in people’s homes can continue if the tradesperson is well and has no symptoms. It is also important to ensure that Public Health England guidelines are followed, including maintaining a 2-metre distance from any household occupants. No work should be carried out in any household which is isolating or where an individual has been classed as ‘at-risk’, unless it is an emergency, and where the tradesperson is willing to do so. In such cases, Public Health England can provide advice to tradespeople and households. No work should be carried out by a tradesperson who has coronavirus symptoms, however mild.
What safety measures should I follow while work is being done?
Firstly, the tradesperson coming to your property should be aware of the safety measures they need to take in order to safely work at your property. Public Health England have released guidance on measures everyone should take, this includes keeping a 2-metre distance from any household occupants, washing your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds, never touch your face, eyes, nose or mouth and if you cough or sneeze to do so in your shoulder and to wash your hands afterwards.
If the selected tradesperson is part of a trade body, they could also have further advice for their industry. For example, the Heating & Hotwater Industry Council have produced advice for their members while continuing to work.
- On the day of the work, call ahead to your customer to ask if they or any occupants have signs of the virus, have been diagnosed, or are self-isolating, and to check that they are comfortable with your visit to take place
- Do not shake hands with the customer or other occupants.
- Ask if the occupants can stay in another room, away from the work area(s) whilst the work proceeds, and with permission ventilate the work area where appropriate, e.g. by opening a window
- Wear suitable work gloves
- Avoid collecting a signature at the end of the job where possible.
A good level of communication between you and your contractor is key in these circumstances to be able ensure the above advice can be carried out smoothly.
What else can I do to ensure work is carried out safely?
Alongside Public Health England’s advice, the Government have advised that keeping your property clean is an effective way of ensuring COVID-19 doesn’t spread. Using your usual household cleaning products, clean frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, handrails, remote controls and tabletops. Wherever possible, wear disposable or washing-up gloves and aprons for cleaning.
In terms of applying this to a tradesperson visit, consider where that tradesperson will be spending their time while in your property and any appliances or equipment, they are likely to be touching during their work. Cleaning this area before and after their visit is good practice.