Tenants’ rights have not changed during Covid-19 crisis. With the country currently in lockdown due to Covid-19, we are seeing an increasing number of social and private landlords becoming reluctant to deal with housing disrepair claims.
An estimated 3 million people in the UK, including children, are living in disrepair, read our blog for how some of our clients are being affected during lockdown.
In March this year, The Fitness for Human Habitation Act, came into fully into force, giving both social and private tenants better protection to ensure their homes are safe and free from health risks or hazards.
We want to remind all landlords that recent guidance from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has made it clear that despite restrictions imposed as part of the lockdown, landlords’ repairing obligations have not changed and they have to remember that “Tenants have a right to a decent, warm and safe place to live – and it is in the best interests of both tenants and landlords to ensure that properties are kept in good repair and free from hazards.”
We are dealing with many vulnerable people during lockdown, where the current conditions of their property is having a detrimental impact on their physical and mental health.
While we appreciate there will be difficulties fixing issues, we want to remind all landlords that urgent health and safety issues should be attended to immediately.
The guidance from the Government has made it clear that contractors can attend properties if necessary as long as social distancing is maintained and that while “there is no reason to allow dangerous conditions to persist.”
In terms of non-urgent, but still essential repairs, and settlement agreements we are strongly recommending to all landlords that repairs should be carried out within 56 days of the Covid-19 movement restrictions being lifted.
We also urge tenants who are experiencing serious disrepair to speak up and inform their landlord at the earliest opportunity, so they can engage in constructive conversations to address any serious problems before they escalate.
As always, we are committed to working in accordance with government guidelines and will continue to act in the best interests of our clients. Of course at the moment, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to dealing with these claims, but we believe common sense and co-operation between parties is essential to ensuring matters are resolved as quickly and safely as possible.