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How is Covid-19 affecting the property market?

 

We know it's a difficult time for all during this pandemic with varied tiers of lockdown throughout the country it's hard to follow the latest Government guidance for tenants, landlords and buyers figuring out what to do about viewings and entry. So, here at I Am The Agent we wanted to give you a Covid-19 support page with all the latest links and common questions. 

Can I carry out viewings?

Landlords and agents are allowed to show prospective tenants around their rental property provided that it is safe to do so and all viewings follow Government guidelines; facemasks, numbers of viewers, distance and clean hands. Landlords should not conduct viewings in properties where current tenants are symptomatic, sheltered or self-isolating.                                 

All physical viewings should be limited to members of the same household where possible. When showing someone around the property, all internal doors should be opened, and all individuals should avoid contact with surfaces and door handles. All viewers, landlords and agent must wear facemasks and give each other space. Existing tenants should not be in the property whilst viewings are taking place for safety. 

Safety in the home remains extremely important to I Am The Agent. All landlords should make every effort to abide by existing gas safety regulations and the new electrical safety regulations which apply to new tenancies created on or after 1 July 2020.

Inspections and maintenance work should not be carried out in households that are self-isolating. Landlords and contractors are able to carry out routine and essential repairs in households that are shielding, but landlords and tenants should work together to ensure social distancing is maintained and safety is update.

Local authorities are aware that COVID-19 guidance will affect landlords complying with gas and electrical safety requirements and the government are encouraging a pragmatic, common-sense approach from both landlords and enforcement agencies.

To find out the alert level in your area or somewhere you are travelling to, you can enter the postcode here.

Moving home:

I Am The Agent is following the Government guidelines that advises you can still move home if you’re in a high alert level area. Estate and letting agents and removals firms can continue to work and people looking to move home can continue to undertake viewings but you must follow the national guidance on moving home safely which includes advice on social distancing and wearing a face covering.

Request a Home Office right to rent check:

Right to rent checks have been temporarily adjusted due to coronavirus (COVID-19), to make it easier for landlords to carry them out.

As of 30th March 2020 the following temporary changes have been made:

  1. Checks can now be carried out over video calls
  2. Tenants can send scanned documents or a photo of documents for checks using email or a mobile app, rather than sending originals
  3. Landlords should use the Landlord’s Checking Service if a prospective or existing tenant cannot provide any of the existing documents

Rent Negotiation:

You have been approached by your tenant who has requested such a delay or reduction in their rent I am the agent suggests you handle all requests with transparency and understanding but also within the guidelines of our government and insurance providers direction.

If you are a landlord that manages his or her rent directly, then our advice is to follow directives from the government and other relevant sources. We recommend that a sensible and understanding approach will unite both parties to reach an amicable solution.

What to do if you are having difficulty paying your rent:

Tenants should continue to pay rent and abide by all other terms of their tenancy agreement to the best of their ability. Tenants who are unable to do so should speak to their landlord at the earliest opportunity. The government are offering financial support for workers and benefit claimants affected by the Coronavirus outbreak. Click here to find out more.    You can also get advice if you’re in rent arrears or having difficulty paying your rent from:

  1. Money Advice Service
  2. Shelter
  3. Citizens Advice

Changes have been made to Universal Credit, Local Housing Allowance and Working Tax Credit to help current claimants and allow more people to claim during this period. You can find out more about this and changes to other government benefits here.

The government have created a Self-Employed Income Support Scheme to support self-employed people (including members of partnerships) who have lost income due to Coronavirus (COVID-19). You can check your eligibility and make your application. Anyone unable to work for more than 7 days due to the Coronavirus outbreak can obtain an online self-isolation note to give to your employer here.

Evictions:

Renters affected by coronavirus will continue to be protected after the government extended the ban on evictions. And new 6 month notice periods to be in place until at least 31 March 2021. Https://www.gov.uk/government/news/jenrick-extends-ban-on-evictions-and-notice-periods   

Below are some useful links to the the latest Government regulations on Covid19: 

  1. COVID-19 and renting (England): www.gov.uk
  2. Welsh guidance for tenants and landlords: www.gov.wales
  3. Scottish guidance for landlords: www.gov.scot
  4. Scottish guidance for tenants: www.gov.scot
  5. Notices seeking possession (England): www.gov.uk
  6. COVID-19 changes to Right to Rent checks: www.gov.uk
  7. Work carried out in people’s homes: www.gov.uk
  8. Help for employers & employees: www.gov.uk
  9. Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: www.gov.uk
  10. Self-employed Income Support Scheme: www.universalcredit.gov.uk
  11. Coronavirus & claiming benefits: www.universalcredit.gov.uk
  12. Coronavirus and Sick Pay: www.gov.uk
  13. UK coronavirus guidance: www.gov.uk
  14. Scottish coronavirus guidance: www.hps.scot
  15. Welsh coronavirus guidance: www.gov.wales


Please do be safe and keep checking the above for the latest date. 

We can assist with viewings, marketing your properties on Rightmove and Zoopla, referencing, gas and electrical safety certificates. We are truly an online estate agency and all marketing can be done from the safety of your home. We also have a great guide on virtual viewing shown HERE and also how to upload a virtual viewing HERE.

Good luck and please stay safe and thank you for your ongoing support. 

I Am The Agent