Worried letting agents are calling on the Government to issue advice about how to conduct Right to Rent checks without putting themselves and their tenants at risk.
ARLA Propertymark has written to the Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock, asking for guidance, stressing just how much social interaction is needed for letting agents to do their jobs. Chief Executive David Cox writes that by law, letting agents must carry out face-to-face Right to Rent checks in the presence of all adult occupiers, but many agents are concerned about their ability to do their work in light of the Coronavirus.
“The virus poses more of a problem when tenants are self-isolating and there are issues at the property that need to be resolved or at the start and end of the tenancy process with interaction between multiple parties,” says Cox.
He adds: “Given the importance of housing and the ability for people to buy and sell property as well as rent, we implore the Government to provide urgent advice to the sector to ensure that their businesses can continue to operate.”
The Residential Landlords Association’s policy manager John Stewart suggests that if landlords have a property inspection scheduled, they should consider whether it can be delayed until later in the year. If it can’t, or they’re checking a tenant in or out, he says they should follow official advice. “While you don’t want to be unnecessarily intrusive, it may be worth asking tenants if they have travelled from higher risk areas or are showing symptoms.” “If your properties are managed,” adds Stewart, “then ask what steps your agent is taking to inform tenants, and if they have contingency plans in place should a tenant have to self-isolate.”