Warning that letting agents could face prosecution in coronavirus crisis

Agents trying to stick to the coronavirus protocols are in danger of breaking the law if they continue to go about their jobs as normal.

The warning has come from ARLA which has asked the Government for guidance on how letting agents should proceed in the coronavirus crisis, particularly where tenants self-isolate. In yesterday’s Budget, the Chancellor warned that one-fifth of the entire working population could be self-isolating at any one given time.

ARLA boss David Cox has also asked the Government whether it will step in if local authorities start prosecutions.

Cox said: “If a tenant were to have the virus or be in a period of self-isolation, what happens if something goes wrong in the property, for example, the boiler stops working?”

He said that the agent, landlord or contractor would not go into the property, meaning that a tenant could be left without heating or hot water for two weeks or longer.

That would put the agent or landlord in breach of Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act, plus other legislation including licensing regulations, requiring them to maintain the property.

This, said Cox, could open up agents and landlords to unlimited liability and banning orders.

Cox has also raised concerns about the impact that coronavirus could have on agents and landlords preparing for electrical safety regulations coming into force in July.

He said that the Government may want to relax the deadlines to give greater time for compliance.

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  1. Typhoon

    Common sense has to prevail. The plumber won’t go the agent could go (but wont) but couldn’t fix the boiler anyway. This is simply one of the massive inconveniences which Corona is causing. People cannot be prosecuted for God’s sake

    1. PossessionFriendUK39

      Agreed Typhoon, however, sadly   Common sense and the law are not of the same family. !

  2. AgencyInsider

    I am no lawyer but I reckon ‘force majeure’ would apply and I’d bet no-one will be prosecuted in these exceptional circumstances.

    1. Property Money Tree

      …my very thoughts

  3. LetItGo

    absolute pathetic reporting

    1. Woodentop

      Employers (agents) have a duty of care to employees. ARLA raises a very interesting position that doesn’t just stop at maintenance of homes that are infected. Self-isolation is what it says, isolation at the request of government and health department. Common sense should prevail but I know many a gas engineer won’t be calling to fix the broken boiler! What a mess.

    2. PeeBee


      Sorry?  Care to explain that comment?

    3. Paul

      Hmmm letitgo I think you do need to let it go.
       I think you will find the job of a journalist or news outlet is to report on the news.
      Now you could call the warning pathetic, you could also call the situation pathetic and finally you could call your comment pathetic, but I don’t think pathetic reporting is actually a correct summing up in this instance.

  4. Paul

    In relation to the article, this all assumes that the tenant is going to tell you they are self isolating?


    Faced with no hot water or heating, I fear some tenants will merely keep quiet about their quarantine issues!!

    1. PeeBee

      Will there not be an army of flag-waving do-gooders outside the garden gate proclaiming “Unclean… unclean…” to all that approach?   No big crosses daubed on the doors?
      Damn – and to think we have supposedly progressed from the Dark Ages…

    2. PossessionFriendUK39

      Paul,  I think your partly right,  some tenants will keep quiet,  but I’m sure others will be straight onto Acorn or Shelter.  There’s no reassurance that Legal minds paid by Legal Aid ( Tax-payers money )  will adopt a pragmatic approach.

      They haven’t before, so why should we expect them to now.

      I think its absolutely right of Property Industry Eye to raise this issue as I feel is going to massively impact everything ( including rented accommodation )

    3. GeorgeHammond78

      You’ll know who they are – they’ll be the ones not paying their rent…..

      1. PeeBee

        What was their excuse before the virus?

  5. Ian Narbeth

    One must also hope that prosecutions will not follow if there are reasonable delays in carrying out safety checks, bringing the EPC up to E by 1st April, PAT testing etc.

  6. phil@4cornersproperty.co.uk

    a knee jerk reaction has been the cause of a shortage of toilet rolls, rice and pasta in the shops, surely we can agree not to follow suit.

    Your gas safety should be completed within 30-60 days of the previous report, more than enough time to organise one.

    The EPC also has an expiry date that you should be aware of 30 days prior to it expiring.

    If any proactive work can be done, get it done.

    If you have an emergency situation and coronavirus at the same time then you will be in the minuscule % of calls out of the nation. I cant see the any legal consequence of not attending a property should the tenant be self-isolating.

    Just take care and use what common sense you have to look after yourself and your contractors.


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