COVID-19 has brought a lot of uncertainty - particularly for renters. Previous lockdown guidelines meant renters had to stay put in their properties but this week, the government announced that property viewings can begin again. Whether you are in a share house or living alone, you need to know how to keep safe during property inspections.
In three points we sum up everything renters should know including government guidelines your landlords or property agents need to follow and precautions you should be taking.
1. Are property inspections now allowed?
Yes, on Tuesday 12 May, the UK government announced that the property market is fit to reopen. Viewings, moves and other activities “required for the rental or sale of property” (Source: Health Protection [Coronavirus, Restrictions], Gov) are now allowed in England.
This does not apply to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland’s where viewings and non-essential moves are still restricted. To hear when these restrictions are lifted, sign up to our newsletter here.
2. What precautions need to be taken during property viewings?
Landlords and agents will have to stick to government guidelines to make sure everyone involved is kept as safe as possible. This means:
- Visits must be by appointment only.
- Open house viewings should not take place.
- Speculative viewings are highly discouraged.
If people are inspecting your current property you should:
- Have had 24 hours written notice from your landlord or property agent.
- Leave the house for the duration of the visit.
- Create clear walkways, move any items or furniture where possible so they will not be touched by those inspecting the property.
- Disinfect surfaces and floors.
If you feel uncomfortable, get in contact with your landlord or agent to discuss if changes can be made.
Your landlord or property agent should:
- Have online viewings with potential tenants where possible.
- Ask people who are viewing the property or all those living in the house as if anyone has displayed COVID-19 symptoms or are in a high-risk category.
- Viewings should not be conducted if anyone has said yes.
- Outline the safety practices they have put in place including if masks and gloves will be worn, and how the property will be sanitised before and after viewings.
- Make sure that you are out of the property and let you know when the house is safe to access again.
- Minimise contact by asking for information to be provided digitally where possible.
3. Can I be immediately evicted from my property?
You cannot be forced out of your property for a new tenant if your landlord has not served you notice to vacate.
If you are looking for a property, read these guidelines on how to move and inspect properties here.