Keep calm and carry on
Keep calm and carry on – what does ‘lockdown two’ mean for landlords?
‘Lockdown two’ in effect in England from 05 November to 02 December thankfully does not affect service businesses like letting agents and landlords.
This follows advice from Robert Jenrick – Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government and backed-up by industry experts including David Cox – Legal & Compliance Director at Rightmove.
The latest national restrictions can be found on the Gov.UK website here.
What does this mean for landlords?
Landlords are still allowed to conduct viewings, facilitate tenants moving in and out and have contractors perform their work from photography to maintenance in their rental properties whether vacant or occupied.
In fact, repairs and safety checks remain a legal obligation.
Rajeev Nayyar, the MD of Fixflo who power the maintenance and repair tracking functionality in the RentiD Digital Assistant app believes that unlike ‘Lockdown one‘ when tenants adjusted down their expectations on things like minor repairs being dealt with, this will not happen this time around. In fact, complaints are likely to go up as any goodwill has evaporated.
When it comes to conducting viewings, contractor visits and periodic inspections, the existing protocols around hand sanitising, use of face masks, distancing, ventilation and not offering and accepting refreshments still apply.
You may also wish to consider a period of three days between old tenants moving out and new tenants moving in as an alternative to deep cleaning the property to rid it of any potential Coronavirus.
Commonsense judgement and due care should be exercised around high risk, shielding and isolating tenants. If tenants refuse to allow contractors into their homes to perform maintenance or safety checks, then landlords should be careful to record down such interactions. When it comes to inspections, remember tenants have a right to “quiet enjoyment” of their home so maintaining good relationships and providing sufficient notice is a must.
People are still looking for new places to call home
Data from Rightmove is indicating lettings traffic to their website is currently up by as much as +50% year-on-year, even in areas like Manchester previously under Tier 3 restrictions.
We believe that during this second lockdown, many tenants either furloughed, home working or taking up new employment will have time to consider their home and whether it’s meeting their needs in terms of space or location.
Our advice has not changed
Keep calm and carry on. For more advice around conducting safe viewings, reducing physical viewings by using video calls and marketing your property please see our previous article here.
Remember, with RentiD you can market your property effectively to find great new tenants quickly, manage the new tenant on-boarding process, maintain direct contact with your tenants and keep on top of maintenance and repair issues including safety checks.