Minister Writes To Landlords In England
Housing minister Christopher Pincher MP has written an open letter to all landlords in England this December to explain the measures contained in the Government’s Autumn and Winter Plan (2021) to tackle rising cases of Covid-19.
In particular the Government is keen to ensure that all residential property can be properly ventilated to minimise the spread of Covid-19 in enclosed spaces.
Intended for both social and private landlords in England the minister outlines five key messages for landlords:
- Ensure all habitable rooms have functioning, openable windows. No one is suggesting that new openings be knocked in existing walls, but we are encouraged to check that windows are not seized and if misplaced keys are preventing ventilation.
- Ensure all bathrooms and kitchens have either functioning openable windows or functioning mechanical extraction. This should always be the case in any event but making sure that extraction is working as the weather turns colder and households may be reticent to open windows is always a good idea. Aside from concerns over Coronavirus, poor ventilation and steam are the root causes of a great deal of condensation damage and accusations of damp.
- Consider installing positive pressure or constant run ventilation systems. This won’t be suitable for all properties, and is certainly not a requirement, but if any members are interested in exploring additional ventilation NRLA recognised supplier EnviroVent can advise landlords on available options.
- Ensure that tenants have clear instructions and understand how to operate ventilation and heating systems. This is standard operating procedure for most landlords, if only to minimise condensation and calls on dark winters’ nights about the thermostat, but a refresher in the current circumstances is unlikely to do any harm.
- Ensure that problems with damp are fully investigated and addressed promptly. I’m not entirely sure what this point has to do with minimising the spread of Covid19, but it is sound advice to look into potential damp as soon as possible. It also provides an opportunity to check if any issues are condensation related, potentially resolved by better use of ventilation rather than costly works.
The minister goes on to offer some key messages to pass on to tenants about the importance of ventilation, which can be downloaded along with the letter in full here.
Aside from doing what we can to encourage proper ventilation during the colder months of the year, it is well worth taking a moment to consider Covid-safe practices when dealing with tenants, or other third parties.