New guidance to Estate Agents, Letting agents and Landlords

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  • New guidance to Estate Agents, Letting agents and Landlords

There has been new guidance laid out by the Government about the property industry which also relates to Landlords, letting agents and estate agents. These are as follows:-

 

Working from Home

 

Office workers who can work from home, should do so from the 13th December. Anyone who cannot work from Home should continue going to work. If you continue going to work, you should consider taking lateral flow tests to manage your own risk and the risk to others.

 

Employers should consider whether working from home is appropriate for worker who face mental or physical health difficulties. Or those with a particularly changing home working environment.

 

Isolation rules

 

These have been changed by the UK Government for household rules if individuals are vaccinated, or unvaccinated, and if in contact with others. The new rules come into force on the 11th January 2022 for those who aren’t showing symptoms but get a positive lateral flow test they do not now need to take a confirmatory PCR and instead isolate.

 

This was again changed for the isolation now to only take five days with the set criteria rather than the seven days before.

 

Face Coverings

 

Since the start of December, face coverings required by law in most indoor settings in estate agents and letting agents. This is listed by the UK Government as a place where you must wear a face covering when dealing with members of the public. Face coverings are recommended on viewings. We at Harringtons Lettings, don’t have anybody unfortunately currently in our office due to covid rules. Not only to safe guard our own staff but for the health and safety of any visitors.

 

Visitors to offices

 

Agents should ensure that signage is visible to tell visitors that face coverings should be worn. But, in our office at this moment in time we don’t allow any visitors.

 

Quarantine Rules

 

On the 9th January 2022 the UK Government updated its guidance on travel to England. Which now requires automatic self-isolation for unvaccinated people entering the Country. There are also changes to covid tests for this.

 

If you are fully vaccinated the rules are different than if you are unvaccinated. These will change on a regular basis and would tell anybody to keep up to date with the Government guidance.

 

Right to rent

 

Checks remain in place until the 6th April 2022. When landlords and letting agents at this moment in time must revert to face to face and physical document checks. But, this may change. The Home Office has recognised since December that there are benefits of adjusting the checking process. This will enable landlords to use certified identification documentation validation technology known as “IDVT” for service providers to carry out digital identity checks. There are also checks many that are on the Home Office online services including British and Irish Citizens. You should check whats needed. We expect that this will change again.

 

Ventilation

 

Guidance has been in place since the letter of the 7th December from the Government. This stated as follows “letting fresh air into indoor spaces can help remove air that contains virus particles and can prevent the spread of corona virus. When someone with COVID-19 breathes, speaks or coughs or sneezes, they release particles to include droplets in air particles containing the virus that causes COVID-19. In poorly ventilated rooms the amount of virus in the air can build up, increasing the spread or risking COVID-19.

 

Good ventilation will not only help reduce the transmission of the virus. But also help reduce condensation, dampness, mould and fungal growth and dust mites.

 

Key message for landlords

 

“If you have responsibility as a landlord, whether in the social rented sector or private sector, they ask that you help in efforts to encourage behaviours to help combat the virus, and cascade the message of the important of good ventilation to your residents” Contact your letting agent for more information if needed.

 

There are a summary of key measures for residents:-

 

The importance of ventilation.

 

  1. a) It is important to ventilate your home when you have visitors from outside your household – including family or someone in your house who had COVID-19.

 

  1. b) Letting fresh air into indoor spaces can help remove air that contains virus particulars and prevents the spread of Coronavirus.

 

  1. c) Ventilation is important if someone in your household has COVID-19 or if you are indoors with people you do not live with. You can pass COVID-19 onto others if you only have wild symptoms or even no symptoms at all.

 

How to ventilate your home

 

  1. a) Opening windows and doors at home is the simplest way of improving ventilation.

 

  1. b) If you have people working in or visiting your home, let as much fresh air into your home as possible without getting uncomfortably cold while they are there and for a short period before they arrive and after they have left.

 

  1. c) If someone in your home is self-isolating, keep a window slightly open in their room and keep the door closed to reduce the spread of contaminated air to other parts of the household. If the person self-isolating needs access into shared spaces in your home, ensure that these areas are well ventilated by the guidance above.

 

  1. d) Ventilation can be increased by leaving extractor fans in the bathrooms, toilets and kitchen areas running. Ensuring the door is closed after someone has been in the room.

 

  1. e) In the winter months, it is crucial that ventilation, such as trickle vents and windows, are not blocked and that other ventilation is not switched off. These actions will have minimal implications for heating costs but will put you more at risk for coronavirus transmission.
Continued
  1. f) If your home has a mechanical ventilation system, make sure it is working and maintained in line with the manufacturer’s instructions. Your landlord should be able to tell you how to check the ventilation system is working.

 

  1. g) If possible, set ventilation systems to bring in fresh air and not recirculate indoor air. If you are unsure how to use this, seek guidance from the landlord. Devices that only recirculate indoor air will not remove airborne viruses from the home. You can use the boost mode to increase the ventilation if someone in your house is self-isolating due to COVID-19 or if you meet people you do not live with indoors

 

  1. h) Ventilation can also be increased by leaving extractor fans in the bathroom, toilets and kitchen areas running a longer time than usual, with the door closed, after someone with COVID-19 or a visitor has been in the room.

 

  1. i) If necessary, to ensure safety, we would advise that you latch windows – this will allow ventilation whilst reducing the safety risk.

 

How to keep warm

 

Ventilation does not mean that you have to be cold. Opening windows for 10 minutes an hour can help reduce the risk and allow the air to refresh.

 

In colder weather, when it is not comfortable to leave windows open, opening windows can also provide ventilation to reduce cold draughts.

 

Support for low income/vulnerable residents

 

There is advice available of how to keep warm and well. If you are having difficulty heating your home you may be able to claim financial and practical help. Even if you don’t own the property. Visit the simple energy advice website for information. Or call their telephone line on 0800 444 202. Ofgem has further advice on what to do if you are struggling to pay your energy bills.

 

Depending on your circumstances and other criteria, you might be eligible for support with your energy bills:-

 

  1. a) The warm home discounts supports low income and vulnerable households. Please see the warm home discount web pages for further information on eligibility and how to apply to the scheme.

 

  1. b) The cold weather payments and winter fuel payment also help vulnerable households with their energy costs. Check the cold weather payment and weather fuel payment pages for your information.

 

  1. c) If you are in financial distress during this time, you should talk to your energy supplier. They will be able to discuss personal circumstances and can set out options to help. Including reassessing, reducing or pausing payments.

Update

The Government has now relaxed all rules in relation to the corona virus regulations throughout the whole of the United Kingdom. They are trying to get the world back to normal conditions. This applies also with letting agents and estate agents.

We take tenants and landlords health very seriously at Harringtons Lettings and will still request face masks to be down on all viewings.

Do you have a property within the Brighton and Hove area that you would like a valuation on?

Do you know what you property is currently worth? We deal with all types of properties in the Brighton and Hove area from North Laines, City Centre, Hove seafront and many more. Also dealing with properties throughout the whole of Sussex. We would love to carry out a valuation for you so please don’t hesitate to contact us on 01273 724000 or admin@harringtonslettings.co.uk

iInsure 365

Have you been introduced to our sister company iInsure 365 who deal with all types of insurance? You wont have to worry about filing out a long lengthy forms to find cheap landlord insurance. With iInsure 365 you can speak to one of the team and they will find you a quote through their panel of provider. They deal with all types of level of cover and have various different insurer who can offer quotes for you. There are legal requirements for landlords and it is important that you have the right insurance company to deal with your insurance cover.

A landlord may have one or more properties in the United Kingdom that they rent out. It is important for landlords to spend time looking for the right insurance. Make sure you find an insurance policy specifically designed for landlords. They can ensure properties from all over the United Kingdom for you.

Landlords often believe that a new home policy will suffice. This is not the case and they will then make a claim which virtually all insurers will turn down. Standard home insurance policy mostly cover homeowners or property owners, not landlords. If you stick with your normal house insurance policy you can find yourself with no cover at all.

Landlords building insurance

Landlord building insurance is specifically tailored for landlords and their requirements. iInsure 365 will insure what you need for your policy.

Are you aware of the growing risk of underinsurance?

In the words of the financial conduct authority “there is already an alarming degree of underinsurance”. With both the UK businesses and consumers creating issues throughout each of the property sectors.

It is the responsibility of landlords to ensure they take out sufficient levels for cover for the insured risk of having insurance.

If they fail to take out sufficient level of cover this can have devastating consequences for you. It can result in significant reductions to any insurance pay outs and potentially in the worst case scenario, it may void the policy. Resulting in no pay out at all.

A practical example is as follows;

If the rebuild cost of your premises is £200,000 but the property is only insured for £100,000. You are underinsured by 50%. Every insurance company will have an average clause in the policy which is standard and therefore it reduces the sum insured by leaving the policy holder with 50% of an insurance pay out of just £50,000.

We understand from iInsure that they recently had one of their clients check their rebuild costs. iInsure have an ability to be able to check a policy for the correct sum insured for only £160.00. Substantially more than what most surveyors charge.

The client was insured for £630,000. Once the report was carried out it stated that it should have been £856,000. There was an underinsurance of £226,000 which would have been taken off any claim.

They can provide you with a RICKS certified up to date revaluation. Ensuring that your property is correctly insured for the right amount. The cost is minimal compared to what the situation would be if you weren’t paid out to the correct amount.

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