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Tier 4 Landlords: Government publishes operating guidelines

The government has published official guidance for landlords on how they should operate in the new Tier 4 locations.

Since Boxing Day, Tier 4 rules - which mean the closure of all non-essential shops, hairdressers, swimming pools and gyms, plus a ‘stay at home’ order to residents - now apply to around 24 million people in England, more than 40 per cent of the population.

The government says, overtly in the preamble to the section of the restrictions specifically applied to the lettings sector, that “Tenants’ safety should be letting agents’ and landlords’ first priority.”


And it adds: “Letting agents and landlords should endeavour to work with their tenants to sustain tenancies as far as possible, where the tenant wants to and is able to stay.”

It then sets out the following measures:

- Landlords and letting agents should not conduct viewings in properties where tenants are symptomatic or self-isolating.

- In other cases (such as where tenants have been determined to be clinically extremely vulnerable) where viewings can proceed, they should be conducted in line with the guidance on viewings earlier in this document.

- Any visits to a property must be made in accordance with government’s guidelines on working in other people’s homes and social distancing.

- If possible, necessary repairs, gas and electrical safety checks should be conducted in the period between a property being vacated and a new tenant moving in. If this is not possible and visits are needed to an occupied property, this should be done by appointment with measures put in place to ensure physical contact is minimised, for example with residents staying in another room during the visit.

- Letting agents may also want to consider obtaining landlord and tenant consent for inventory clerk appointments to also occur before a tenant moves in or after a tenant moves out during vacant periods if possible.

- Letting agents and landlords should take steps to ensure any properties are prepared ready for new tenants. This may include cleaning to minimise any potential spread of the coronavirus in line with government advice.

- Letting agents and landlords should consider how best to conduct tenancy check-ins for new tenancies agreed, taking care to follow government advice on social distancing and public health advice to minimise the possible spread of coronavirus.

- Letting agents and landlords are reminded of the temporary COVID-19 measures that adjust right to rent checks, temporarily allowing these checks to be conducted remotely. Lettings agents and landlords should consider other areas where in-person payments, referencing or checks can be conducted remotely instead and take further legal or professional advice if required to implement properly.

- Moves into a house in multiple occupation (HMO) are allowed. However, there may be additional risks involved in moving into an HMO at this time which is why it is important that all involved take reasonable precautions. During viewings, tenants that share an HMO are advised to stay out of indoor common areas, such as kitchens, bathrooms or sittings areas, during a viewing. If it is not a tenant’s own private room that is being viewed they can also remain inside their room with the doors closed.

- Moves into student accommodation are allowed. Letting agents, universities and accommodation providers should consider how best to conduct tenancy check-ins, following the latest public health advice and taking reasonable steps to reduce transmission.

Want to comment on this story? If so...if any post is considered to victimise, harass, degrade or intimidate an individual or group of individuals on any basis, then the post may be deleted and the individual immediately banned from posting in future.

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    Sounds pretty sensible to me. But how would any landlords know? Not mention of this in the news or papers or anywhere else, as far as I know. (For example: have all letting agents been informed?)

  • Bill Wood

    We all know that EICR for existing tenancies are due to be completed by 1st April 2021.
    I have one house where the husband works remotely at home as a teacher and examiner. The wife is a nurse and works at night in a hospital (not sure which type of ward, don't like to ask) and sleeps during the day. They have three children, the eldest around 11 years old.
    The engineer carrying out the EICR checks and remedial work (of which there is sure to be some) will need a couple of days at least.
    How can this be organised safely, effectively, conveniently?
    I reckon the EICR requirement should be delayed until summer next year, when it will be easier for the family to cope.

  • girish mehta

    Short clueless politicians passing laws with out consulting the industry.
    It should have been phased over longer and paused due to Covid. They won’t take sensible decisions for the fear of their jobs and media propaganda.


    Anti Covid regulations to be paused and phased due to Covid, Girish? That makes no sense at all. 'Short Clueless Politicians'? Bit of a generalisation, don't you think? (And what has height got to do with it?)

  • icon

    So many more rules putting ever more stress on LL's and every kind of guidance about Tenant Safety but never any mention of LL's health & safety we are expendable. Regarding the Gas & Electric checks to be done at vacant times between Tenancies how does this occur having put laws in place to prevent vacation especially by LL, only Tenant can vacate or if the non-operational County Courts say so. Shared properties on one Tenancy and one or more decides to leave, in the past a replacement could possibly be found but now viewings are suspended and can't be done, anyone thinking their Flat mates are going to pay for vacant rooms in the property at a time when they are in serious arrears themselves is dreaming.


    'Not mention of LLs' health and safety'? Of course not, LLs don't live in their tenanted properties. 'Viewing are now suspended'? No they're not - please go back to the article. (They're only suspended if a tenant is self-isolating or symptomatic - which is how it should and must be - during a pandemic.) Of course tenants will only pay what their tenancy states they must - not sure why you mention 'dreaming'. Of course there must be rules for LLs (- or did you think otherwise?) If they cause stress, please do not become a LL. Being a LL is quite a responsibility, after all. The gas and electric safety checks are a requirement for a reason.

  • icon

    Sounds pretty sensible to me. But how would any landlords know? Not mention of this in the news or papers or anywhere else, as far as I know. (For example: have all letting agents been informed?)

  • icon

    Yes David, I don't obviously live there but have to go there as hands on LL every time one of them rings with a problem whether big or small putting me at risk.
    David you are correct but mine are self isolating and one a Doctor sharing Tenant has got it and now moving on leaving me with the problems, while other now test positive. I can't go into every detail and give my stories in a small un-paid for blog, I have work to do., ever wondered where all those who got it lives.
    P.S. I hope you do not find yourself in the same situation, Kind Regards.

  • George Dawes

    Merry xmas one and all


    Charming addition to this debate, George, really illuminating in terms of the discussion. How about actually making a well-reasoned and measured contribution rather than just throw out an easy and cheap insult? (Not much of the Christmas spirit evident in your posting ...........) How about respectful responses to those you don't agree with please - otherwise this just becomes a disgusting graffiti wall. And if everyone on the blog holds the same view on everything, there's no point to this blog. It's good to share different views, politely and respectfully - isn't it? Hope you have a good day, George.

    • 30 December 2020 10:11 AM


    BIT RUDE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AND VERY UNNECESSARY.....

  • George Dawes

    And a happy new year


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