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.

Agents should refer to Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19), the latest guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic.

Letting agents should also follow government guidance on coronavirus and renting, and make sure tenants are aware of the guidance.

Key points:

  • 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.
  • Letting agents and landlords are reminded of the temporary COVID-19 measures that adjust right to rent checks, temporarily allowing these checks to be conducted remotely.

Financial support and advice

HMRC has issued key dates for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and actions you might need to take.

  • From1‌‌‌ ‌September 2020 you will have to start contributing to the wages of your furloughed employees. Grants will be for 70% of usual wages in September and 60% in October, but furloughed employees will continue to be entitled to receive at least 80% of their usual wages. You will have to make up the difference from your own resources.
  • Changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme from 1‌‌‌ ‌August 2020 mean that employers will need to pay National Insurance (NI) and pension contributions for furloughed employees from their own resources as these will not be covered by future grants.
  • HRMC’s live webinar: Extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and flexible furloughing provides an overview of the scheme, examples of how to work out the amount you can claim, and the changes due in September and October. Choose a date and time
  • More dates have now been added to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme webinar. Get the latest information on:
    • who can claim
    • who you can claim for
    • how to make a claim
    • what you may be entitled to, and more. Choose a date and time

Further advice is available for safeagent firms. For more information, safeagent accredited firms should email info@safeagents.co.uk

Advice for landlords
Advice for Tenants