Safety in HMO’s during the coronavirus outbreak – avoiding infection – October 2020

Please note that this document is up to date as of the date shown in the title; please also regularly check your relevant government sector guide.

If  you  are unsure  on  how  to  implement  Covid Secure  controls in your properties  or  have any questions on the below guidance, please contact the Private Sector  Housing team at Housingandcommunity@welhat.gov.uk

As a Landlords and Letting / Managing Agents of properties and in particular a house of multiple occupation (HMO) it is important that you protect yourself, your tenants, your staff (e.g. maintenance contractors and cleaners) and any other person(s) who may have to visit the property.

We are keen to assist you as much as we can, we hope by sending this update and directing you toward to some of latest advice and useful links, it will help you be clearer on what is required when providing privately rented accommodation. If you have any questions or require further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.

The key messages regarding reducing health risks and the spread of the disease in shared/supported living accommodation and HMOs remains:-

Follow the latest Government advice. Three simple actions we must all now do to keep on protecting each other:-

  • Wash hands – keep washing your hands regularly
  • Cover face – wear a face covering in enclosed spaces
  • Make space – stay  at  least  2  metres  apart  or 1 metre  with  a face covering  or  other  precautions

Landlords and Letting / Managing Agents may wish to offer advice to your tenants/service users about any new announcements or changes the Government make to their advice and measures they are using to suppress the virus and keep us safe in our homes. Everybody has a duty to help reduce the spread of the disease. New announcements can be found: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

  • Tenants must be encouraged to inform housemates if they think they have coronavirus symptoms or are self-isolating, as the whole household may need to self-isolate.
  • Tenants should also notify you, as the Landlords and Letting / Managing Agents, they have symptoms or test positive. This will enable you to take appropriate action in managing the property.
  • Tenants should be advised of the importance of following hygiene practices. Ventilating kitchens, bathrooms and sitting areas that are shared as much as possible, the need to clean shared kitchens and bathrooms after each use by wiping surfaces you have come in contact with.

Landlords and Lettings / Managing Agents should now have included a health and safety risk assessments, with particular regard to Covid-19, and developed and implemented a safe way of working regard their properties as part of their business considerations,

  • Having an implemented infectious disease (Coronavirus) risk assessment along with a cleaning protocol. This risk assessment would be similar to a fire risk assessment should a tenant have symptoms or test positive.
  • This might include having soap and/or sanitiser sent to the property with guidance for the tenants use, and providing a deep clean: should this be necessary (the landlord should bear the cost) and the thorough cleaning of properties between tenancies.
  • Landlords should sign post tenants/residents to be vigilant about keeping their homes disinfected

The Government has passed emergency legislation to protect tenants from eviction in most cases. For further information follow this link:, https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-sets-out-comprehensive-support-for-renters-this-winter

If you would like further details, there is lots of information and advice available from the Government and other organisations.

Government Advice

The Government has produced ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance for Landlords and Tenants’, covering matters around notices seeking possession and court action on possession, along with property access and health and safety obligations in rented properties

This document includes a number of questions and answers covering a range of different topics.

Guidance for landlords and tenants and technical guidance (updated on 21st September 20), to reflect new regulations,

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-and-renting-guidance-for-landlords-tenants-and-local-authorities

Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for accommodation providers (updated 7th July 20) –

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/covid-19-advice-for-accommodation-providers

• working in other people’s homes (updated 1 October 20) –

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/homes

• Should you require further Covid-19 Stay at home guidance for households with possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection, this can be found

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance

National Landlords Associations

The NLA & the RLA have now merged to create the NRLA which is a national landlord association that covers England, Wales & Scotland.

The National Residential Landlords Association provide lots of varied advice and guidance for landlords and managers, this can be found at https://www.nrla.org.uk/ . For Coronavirus specific advice please visit their campaign page at https://www.nrla.org.uk/campaigns/coronavirus.

They also provide direction to useful external resources https://www.nrla.org.uk/advice/external-resources . Advice includes downloadable poster that you can print off to put up in your properties to provide advice for tenants.

General Coronavirus advice can be found at the following:

NHS guidance – https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI-6agz_3G6AIVAuDtCh0m8g5xEAAYASAAEgIht_D_BwE

➢ Public Health England (PHE) COVID-19 Resource Centre has released some posters which HMO landlords may find helpful to email or post to their tenants – https://coronavirusresources.phe.gov.uk/

➢ Travel Corridors: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-travel-corridors#countries-and-territories-with-no-self-isolation-requirement-on-arrival-in-england

➢ British Landlords Association: https://thebla.co.uk/hmo-bedsits-common-areas-coronavirus-infection-guide/

➢Information on services available from Hertfordshire County Council are located here

hthttps://www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/about-the-council/news/coronavirus-covid-19-what-you-need-to-know.aspxtps://www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/home.aspx

https://www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/about-the-council/news/coronavirus-covid-19-what-you-need-to-know.aspx

You may wish to monitor the links provided as the information on the websites is updated regularly.

We hope you find this information useful, and that you and your tenants stay safe at this difficult time.

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