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Government releases coronavirus guide for landlords and tenants

The government has published a guide to help support and encourage landlords to take a commonsense approach to tackling housing issues during the coronavirus outbreak.

The 21 page-document aims to help landlords and tenants understand the implications of the Coronavirus Act 2020, which grants the government emergency powers to deal with the pandemic.

It offers advice on dealing with a tenant’s financial difficulty and the three-month suspension on evictions and possessions.

Landlords are given advice on dealing with repairs, and which repairs are considered essential.

According to the guide, urgent health and safety issues are those which will affect a tenant’s ability to live safely and maintain their mental and physical health in the property.

These include: a leaking roof, a broken boiler, a plumbing issue that leaves the tenant without washing or toilet facilities, a fridge or washing machine that does not work or if there is a problem with equipment that a disabled person relies on, or if it needs to be installed.

Tenants and tradesman are being asked to respect the social distancing measures during repair work and stay in separate rooms.

Non-urgent issues should be postponed until social distancing measures have been relaxed.

Gas and electricity inspections should continue unless tenants are in isolation. If a landlord cannot carry out testing because of measures to prevent the spread of the disease, they should document their efforts and keep correspondence with tenants.

Smartphones should be used for scheduled property inspections, rather than visiting the home in person.

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