Leading industry organisation asks government for guidance as fear of infection means many landlords and agents are reluctant to meet prospective tenants face to face.

Landlords and letting agents should be allowed to suspend compliant with the government’s unpopular Right to Rent checks, a leading trade organisation has said.

The Right to Rent checks require landlords or their agents to ‘eyeball’ documentation to ensure it is legitimate and threatens them with fines of up to £10,000 if they do not.

But as the government strongly urges the public to socially isolate until the crisis is over, ARLA Propertymark says Right to Rent checks should therefore be suspended.

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The organisation also says the Government must clarify how agents and landlords should deal with emergencies in rental properties, such as when a boiler breaks down in a tenant’s home where someone is self-isolating or has the virus.

Under these circumstances, agents and landlords can’t carry out their normal legal obligations due to the risk of catching and spreading coronavirus.

It wants landlords and agents to contact it with experiences and suggestions so it can use these to better inform the Government about how Coronavirus is affecting the industry, which it hopes will help to push for more answers. It is also pressing the Government to ensure rent continues to flow by suspending the five weeks landlords and tenants must wait to receive Universal Credit payments and asks that these are paid in full directly to the letting agent or landlord as soon as a claim is made. Propertymark has created a 27-point list in line with the ‘Delay’ stage of the Government’s response to the pandemic to support agents, including information relating to valuations and viewings, obligations around inspections, maintenance, and cleaning, and business continuity plans in the event of disruption to staff and suppliers.

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