With Covid rates rising rapidly, here is an LPA update on the government’s Covid advice for landlords and tenants.

Don’t forget the LPA website has the ‘Covid Hub’ page where you can access the latest government advice for landlords and tenants.

Removal of compulsory self-Isolation  

When you look at the government’s Covid web pages, many start with the following statement:

     From 24 February

  • You will no longer be legally required to self-isolate if you test positive for COVID-19. New guidance will advise people who test positive to stay at home and avoid contact with other people.
  • You will no longer be legally required to self-isolate if you are an unvaccinated close contact, and will no longer be advised to test for 7 days if you are a fully vaccinated close contact. The government has published new guidance for people with coronavirus (COVID-19) and their close contacts

Self-isolation is now a personal decision. This removal of self-isolation legislation is part of the government’s “Living with Covid plan” which aims to bring society “towards a return to normality”.

Previously, positive or asymptomatic people were legally required to isolate for up to ten days. They could end their isolation earlier if they registered negative lateral flow tests on both days five and six. Covid prevention measures are still recommended but now only as optional guidance and not as part of legislation.

Landlord and tenant guidance

A major change for landlords is that the Covid guidance for moving home has been fully withdrawn since last month. If you remember, at various times, we were required to sanitise surfaces between viewings, provide virtual viewings, restrict the number of people at viewings and delay handovers under certain circumstances. All gone as of 24 February 2022.

Guidance for landlords and tenants is now covered by “Guidance for landlords and tenants”and also by general national guidance.

The ‘Guidance for landlords and tenants’ document is split into two sections. The purpose of the first section is to help landlords and tenants understand the following:

  • Rent payments.
  • Possession proceedings.
  • Resolution of disputes.

The advice states that repossession legislation has returned to the pre-pandemic position and outlines current court arrangements which still retain some changes made earlier in the pandemic. If you are considering seeking repossession via the courts you are well advised to review the court arrangements guidance.

Within the first section there are also general recommendations on how to deal with rent arrears, resolving disputes, anti-social behaviour and abandonment by tenants.  

The second section addresses:

  • Repairs
  • Maintenance

The amount of advice is now greatly reduced from the peak of the pandemic where only emergency and priority repairs were to take place. The section provides a link to more general working safely guidance, explains how to ventilate properties during works and states that clinically extremely vulnerable people are no longer required to shield.

General National Guidance

Landlords and tenants should also be aware of general national guidance.

The best starting point, is the “Coronavirus: how to stay safe and help prevent the spread” document. The key points are:

  • Get fully vaccinated.
  • If you have COVID-19 you can infect other people from 2 days before your symptoms start, and for up to 10 days after.
  • Meet outside whenever possible but if you do enter a property ensure good ventilation by opening windows and putting on extractor fans but don’t allow fire doors to be kept open.
  • Whilst there is no longer a legal requirement to wear a face covering, the Government suggests that you continue to wear one in crowded and enclosed spaces.
  • The government is no longer asking people to work from home. People should now talk to their employers to agree arrangements to return to the office.
  • If you have any of the Covid symptoms you are advised to stay at home, avoid contact with other people and follow the guidance for people with COVID-19 and their contacts. The linked document explains when and how to self-isolate and when to safely end isolation.
  • All businesses should follow the principles set out in the working safely guidance. The linked document is very helpful document if you have office staff.
  • People previously considered to be clinically extremely vulnerable are not being advised to shield.

Summary

Landlords and tenants have seen a major reduction in restrictions and the removal of legal requirements. However, the government states that Covid is still a risk.

Current guidelines are now recommending various Covid prevention measures but as a personal choice rather than as a legal requirement. Landlords can keep themselves aware of the latest guidance by using links to government advice on the LPA’s ‘Covid Hub’ web page.