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At a testing time for all we want to offer some top industry tips for tenants during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly after receiving recent industry advice which seems to be evolving quickly since the initial lockdown notice:
- Reporting maintenance issues
In such unusual times, contractors, letting agents and “hands on” landlords won’t be operational as normal. Determine the importance of the issue you are about to report and ask yourself if you need the complication of somebody to be coming in your apartment for that stiff door/slightly dripping tap considering self-distancing policies. Report essential emergency maintenance only-water leak/heating not working etc. Also, take the time now to source your letting agency emergency contact number and establish if they are working from home or contactable currently.
- Property inspections
Adapt where possible, save the landlord coming round, or indeed agent coming, as neither are allowed in the lockdown, but part of their terms will include regular property inspections-usually every quarter or half tenancy.
So maybe take a video walkthrough and send your letting agent or landlord to show the condition of the property. It works in the tenant’s favour to help.
- Pay your rent
I know it sounds an obvious one, this is a stance the government guidance is very clear on, but as the government have put in place support systems to enable people to still receive an income, monthly obligations should still be met.
Research your options:
Have you been made redundant? Or your employers applied for 80% furlough staff retention scheme backdated to March 1st – gov.uk job retention scheme
Even those laid off prior, MAY have employers able to rehire and apply.
Latest figures advise 140000 companies have applied for this.
Self-employed tenants may be entitled to get support Grant’s from government, see – Gov.uk self employed
Student updates as grants are still being paid – Gov.uk Students
- Have patience and stay at home
If you don’t need to move stay at home! It is a testing time for all currently but be understanding with a landlord (remember they will have financial strains and maybe in a similar position to you), respectful to a letting agent and accommodating to a contractor, this unprecedented time is new to everyone!
- When looking for a new property
No viewings are allowed, Agents like us ensured we took video walkthrough tours at the first news of the disease hitting the UK in readiness. Browse now online in the spare time and email through your enquiry requesting a video tour of a property. This puts you one step ahead of the crowd in making a more researched decision if to apply for a property, and easier to arrange moving, upon the time government policies are relaxed to allow normal activities such as moving home, or where essential moving is required-e.g. front line NHS staff.
Our team at James Laurence are working remotely, though branches are currently closed, emergency tenant issues can be reported to 07305 760152 or email [email protected].