COVID-19 – Keeping the Private Rented Sector safe
Information for agents
During the COVID-19 outbreak, safety has remained the number one priority for safeagent and its accredited firms. safeagent has compiled the latest Government guidance and advice, in order to best support tenants, landlords and letting agency staff.
You should adhere to the following guidance, which is regularly updated to reflect the changing restrictions:
- COVID-19 and renting: guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities
- Understanding the possession action process: guidance for landlords and tenants
- Government advice on home moving during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
- Any visits to a property must be made in accordance with government’s guidelines on working in other people’s homes and social distancing.
- Agents should not conduct viewings in properties where tenants are symptomatic or self-isolating, or where they are shielding.
- If possible, necessary repairs, gas and electrical safety checks should be conducted in the period between a property being vacated and a new tenant moving in.
- Landlords should make every effort to abide by gas and electrical safety requirements
- Agents should take steps to ensure any properties are prepared ready for new tenants, this may include cleaning to minimise any potential spread of the virus in line with government advice.
- Letting agents and landlords should consider how best to conduct tenancy check-ins for new tenancies agreed while broader measures remain in place, taking care to follow government advice on social distancing to minimise possible spread of coronavirus.
Financial support and advice
- The Ban on evictions for commercial tenants who miss rent payments is still in place.
- The Coronavirus Business Intervention Fund will be interest-free for 12 months.
- Businesses VAT bills will not have to be paid until the end of the financial year.
- Updated HMRC guidance can be found at COVID-19: support for businesses and COVID-19: guidance for employees
- The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been extended until the end of March 2021 for all parts of the UK. For claim periods running to 31 January 2021, the UK Government will pay 80% of employees’ usual wages for hours not worked, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.
- The UK Government will review the policy in January to decide whether economic circumstances are improving enough to ask employers to contribute more.
- The Job Retention Bonus will no longer be paid in February 2021, as CJRS will be available at that time. An alternative retention incentive will be put in place at the appropriate time.