COVID-19 – Keeping the Private Rented Sector safe
Information for agents
Re-opening your business
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.
- 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
- The Ban on evictions for commercial tenants who miss rent payments is still in place.
- The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended to October. Latest update from HMRC.
- 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 Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme is now live.
HMRC has issued key dates for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and actions you might need to take.
- Submit your CJRS claim for periods ending on or before 30 June 2020 by31 July 2020. This is the last date you can make those claims. You need to have made a claim at any point on or before 31 July to be able to make a claim for future months.
- From1 August 2020 the scheme will no longer fund employers’ National Insurance (NI) and pensions contributions for furloughed employees. You will have to make these payments from your own resources.
- 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.
Live webinars offering more support on changes to the scheme are available to book online here.