As the UK faces an outbreak of Covid-19, the Government has urged the public to take precautionary measures to protect themselves from contracting the virus or spreading it further. This includes minimising non-essential social contact, which can be difficult in HMO properties. With over 508,000 HMOs in England alone, it’s clear that this is a housing area that requires extra attention during this time. Below, we’ve shared advice for HMO landlords on how to protect tenants during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Minimise face-to-face contact with your tenants
To protect yourself and your tenants from the spread of Covid-19, limit all face-to-face contact as far as possible. Communicate with your tenants as often as you would normally, but rely on phone calls and emails instead of home visits.
If you must attend the property, avoid all physical contact with your tenants and maintain a safe distance during the visit. Refrain from touching or using any of the shared amenities if possible, especially within the kitchen and bathroom, and make sure to wash your hands carefully before and after your visit. If you or any of your tenants become symptomatic, avoid visiting the property altogether.
Encourage all tenants to follow official government advice
Although it is the responsibility of your tenants to put their health and safety first, encourage them to follow official NHS guidance for minimising the spread of Covid-19 throughout the HMO property.
As an HMO landlord, it is best not to assume that your tenants communicate regularly with each other. Make sure you contact each tenant individually, as this is the most reliable way to share up-to-date information and advice. If one person within your HMO property is self-isolating, advise all other tenants to follow.
Postpone non-urgent repairs and maintenance services
Keep your tenants safe by postponing any non-urgent repairs and services that can wait until further notice. General advice for landlords is to keep on top of interior decorating services and maintenance tasks, but under the current climate it is safer to wait until social distancing measures are no longer advised.
If maintenance projects must go ahead, or if your residential letting is due a safety inspection that must not be postponed, let your tenants know immediately. Advise them to stay away from the affected area and to avoid unnecessary social contact. Ask your contractor or team of contractors to follow all government-recommended hygiene measures when entering the property.
Encourage hygienic practices within the household
Encourage higher levels of cleanliness and hygiene within your HMO property by supplying cleaning products to your tenants. Communal areas and shared amenities can become hotspots for germs, so consider giving your tenants the resources needed to keep them clean while Covid-19 is an imminent threat.
Consider also displaying posters throughout the property with official government advice for effective handwashing practices. Displaying this information in communal areas will encourage tenants to think more carefully about their hygiene habits.
During these unprecedented times, maintaining your landlord responsibilities and staying compliant may become more challenging. For helpful advice and legislation updates, discuss your circumstances with one of Bunk’s dedicated property managers.