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.