Landlords, what maintenance should you be doing? Covid-19
1. Required maintenance during Covid-19 pandemic
As of 25th March 2020, until the end of the government instigated restrictions on movement, the maintenance which agents and landlords should be instructing contractors to attend to is:
1.1 Level 1 Hazards
If a hazard is a serious and immediate risk to a person’s health and safety, this is known as a Category 1 hazard
- Gas issue (boiler breakdown etc)
- Electrical (sockets/lights not working)
- Appliances not working preventing tenants from cooking etc
- Plumbing issues or leaks (blocked toilets, broken showers)
- Security (failed locks, broken windows)
1.2 Legally required safety inspections
- Gas safety inspections
- Periodic electrical inspections
- Emergency lighting
- Fire detection
2. Other maintenance that can be completed
2.1 In tenanted properties
If you can provide replacement items such as vacuum cleaners, microwaves etc without visiting a property continue to do so. Purchases can be made online with delivery addresses set as the tenant’s property.
2.2 In vacant properties
Where a property is vacant, we can continue to instruct maintenance or improvement works if contractors are happy to carry it out and complying with the correct distancing rules.
3. Contractor safety
Government advice on working in people’s homes:
“Work carried out in people’s homes, for example by tradespeople carrying out repairs and maintenance, can continue, provided that the tradesperson is well and has no symptoms.
Again, it will be important to ensure that Public Health England guidelines, including maintaining a 2 metre distance from any household occupants, are followed to ensure everyone’s safety.
No work should be carried out in any household which is isolating or where an individual is being shielded, unless it is to remedy a direct risk to the safety of the household, such as emergency plumbing or repairs, 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.”
Gas Safe have provided the following advice:
- Keeping a minimum of 2m apart from other people (who are not from your household),
- Washing hands frequently,
- Wiping down all surfaces.
4. Can’t get access?
If landlords can’t carry out essential maintenance there is the possibility for significant fines to be levied; not having gas certification could mean a £5,000 fine and 6-month prison sentence, per property, unless you have a valid excuse.
Tenants refusing access
If tenants refuse access to their property for any reason, but, especially where essential maintenance or safety inspections are required it is crucial that you keep a written record of what steps we have taken to attempt access.
Tenants refusing access is a valid defence from prosecution, so make sure to keep written records of all attempts to obtain access.
Problems instructing suppliers
If your regular contractors will not or cannot attend, keep a written record and make sure to take reasonable steps to find an alternative supplier to carry out the work.
Make sure to keep records of all of the steps you have taken and to ensure you check the credentials of any new suppliers you use before instructing them.
5. Need help?
If you need any support managing your properties during this time, please give us a call, we’re all still working and ready to help.