Letting agents following the governments guidelines could be breaking the law.
David Cox, ARLA Propertymark Chief Executive, has raised pressing concerns and called upon the UK Government to issue guidance for the rental sector in the midst of the Coronavirus crisis.
David Cox’s particular concern is that letting agents and landlords following the current Coronavirus protocol could face prosecution by local authorities when they are powerless to act in case of practical emergencies involving tenants. He used the following example to explain his point:
“If a tenant were to have the virus or be in a period of self-isolation, what happens if something goes wrong in the property (for example the boiler stops working). The landlord/ agent /contractor will not go in to avoid contracting the disease and spreading the pandemic.
“However, that means there is a tenant with no hot water or heating for two weeks (or longer if the Government extends the period of self-isolation). This puts the landlord / agent in breach of Section 11 Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (duty to maintain property etc.), any selective/ additional /mandatory licensing conditions, Homes Act 2019, Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) under Housing Act 2004 and open them up to unlimited liability and/ or a Banning Order.”
Propertymark also has concerns regarding the impact of the virus on agents and landlords when preparing for the new electrical regulations coming into force in July. ARLA’s Chief Executive suggested that the Government may want to reconsider relaxing the deadlines to give both the industry and supply chain longer to become compliant.