Coronavirus: Agents must record ALL contacts with self-isolating tenants

The Guild of Letting and Management has thrown helpful light on the responsibilities and recommended approach of letting agents faced with mandatory checks on properties rented by tenants who are self-isolating because of Coronavirus.

“We are grateful to clients who are calling the advice line to share their experiences  so that other letting agents and property managers can be made aware of the situations that they may have to deal with” says a guidance note from the GLM.

Yesterday Letting Agent Today reported that the ARLA was concerned agents may find themselves inadvertently breaking the law by not conducting mandatory safety checks on properties that are effectively out of bounds because the tenant has the virus.

Now GLM has thrown light on this by posing a scenario – a property where the Gas Safety check is due, but in a property where the tenant self-isolates – and asking the appropriate authorities for advice.

GLM says: “We spoke to the Health and Safety Executive Gas Safety advice line who advised the following:

– keep records of any discussions that take place with tenants who are self-isolating;

– save all email correspondence from the tenants in question;

– advise contractors that they should not be putting themselves in a position of danger even though they have a Duty of Care.”

In addition, GLM checked with Public Health England which advised that contractors or letting agents must not put themselves in situations where they could be on contact with someone who is self-isolating

“We spoke to the Gas Safe Register advice line this morning, who advised that all reasonable steps must be shown to demonstrate that appointments have been made to carry out the gas safety certificate and that records of any correspondence or communication with the tenant must be kept on record. Please, note this applies to ALL situations where access is not possible.”

GLM says that obvious questions which agents and contractors should ask of tenants or applicants include:

– have you travelled overseas since the beginning of the year?

– have you been been in contact with anyone who has been tested positive or in the process of being tested for the virus?

“If you are notified by a tenant or landlord or contractor that they are self-isolating, make a record and rearrange appointments” advises the GLM.

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