Hazells’ Covid-19 Working Protcol
The Coronavirus Pandemic continues to have an effect on the way we work and we wanted to contact you to advise of the measures we are taking to try and manage the situation and hopefully minimise the effects to the high standards of service we provide to our clients.
We have an obligation to ensure that clients, tenants, contractors and staff are protected as much as possible. We are basing our approach on the best advice which is available at any one time, and therefore in rapidly changing times things are likely to continue to evolve over the coming days, weeks and months.
We continue to expect rent in full from your tenants and we propose to respond to any cases of arrears in the usual manner. We will continue to be mindful of the impact that self-isolation and the general slowdown of business is having especially to the self-employed, those on zero hour contracts or reliant on tips, such as in the hospitality sector. If your tenant is unable to pay rent due to these or similar circumstances, we will discuss with you how you wish to approach enforcement. We can also discuss with you any concerns you may have in meeting mortgage obligations and explore reliefs available from lenders. We have contacted our tenants asking that they keep in contact with us and inform of any change in their circumstances.
Repairs & Servicing
Most contractors continue to offer their services, but they are very mindful of the requirement to use appropriate PPE and socially distance when entering premises. We are anticipating that as the situation continues it will become increasingly likely in Lockdown #3 that only the very essential repair matters will be dealt with and this will include annual gas servicing to provide the mandatory Landlords’ Gas Safety Certificate (where relevant) and the Electrical Installation Condition Reports (EICRs). This continues to be a fluid situation and we shall do our utmost to keep ourselves abreast of the latest Government advice and deal with matters as they arise, discussing and agreeing our approach with contractors.
Regular inspections and reports will continue to be carried out but only by virtual means using FaceTime or WhatsApp. This is to eradicate physical contact with tenants as much as possible.
Tenant vacation of properties
We may find tenants are unable to vacate properties when they have either served or have had notice served upon them (bear in mind the current 6 months’ Notice period required for a landlord’s Notice to Quit). This may be because they are ill or self-isolating, or because they cannot move into their onward property because the occupier there is in a similar position. In such circumstance rent is still due and should be paid, and we will again have to look at these situations on a case-by-case basis.
Viewings and lettings
We continue to offer a full service for letting of property but have adapted our practices. Viewings of occupied properties are carried out with the co-operation of the existing tenants, and whilst viewings of vacant properties are easier, we will still need to take appropriate care. We use facemasks ourselves and insist that those viewing do the same. Time spent within the property is kept to a minimum and only one person at a time may view.
All paperwork and supporting information is now email based including the introduction of Docusign which allows remote signatures. We believe that the procedures introduced over the last few months are robust and now allow minimal contact with prospective tenants, while still allowing us to facilitate their move into a property.
Proposed Legislative changes
Last year we wrote on the subject of some fairly major legislative changes coming up in 2021, such as the introduction of mandatory Electrical Safety Inspections (EICR) and MEES (Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards). The rollout of EICRs for new tenancies commenced last July and for existing tenancies these need to be in place by 1st April 2021. We are well on track with three electricians to have the work completed in time despite the lockdown. We will work with the electricians to ensure compliance with Covid protocols.
Fortunately to date Coronavirus has not impacted our staff and we have all stayed well. This is largely due to having adopted cautious working practices based upon prevailing and evolving information and Government-based guidance. At present we continue to have an office present 5 days a week with significantly reduced staffing behind locked doors. Home working does seem to be working well and over the months we have adopted some very effective working practices. Please rest assured that we shall continue to do our best to maintain our services on your behalf.
If you have any concerns relating to your property, then please contact your relevant property manager.
Andrew Kettle – 07772144942
Chris Oakes – 07587152701
We trust that you remain well and safe during these difficult times.