The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (England) (Amendment) (No2) Regulations 2020 come into force today: Link
These regulations implement the change that have been announced over the past few days (but with greater clarity). The regulations are a fairly easy read so if you want to know what can and can’t be done under “lock down”, the regulations should be your first source rather than Kevin or Karen off of Facebook.
For social landlords, the interesting part is this; The list of reasonable excuses for leaving where you live has been amended as follows (at Regulation 6):-
(l) to undertake any of the following activities in connection with the purchase, sale, letting or rental of a residential property—
(i) visiting estate or letting agents, developer sales offices or show homes;
(ii) viewing residential properties to look for a property to buy or rent;
(iii) preparing a residential property to move in;
(iv) moving home;
(v) visiting a residential property to undertake any activities required for the rental or sale of that property;
Previously, the regulations stated that you could move house where reasonably necessary which, for many on the housing list, would mean that they could move if they had a property to move into. These new regulations are wider and, in our view, enable a landlord to:-
- Carry out void work and other non-essential work where required to enable the property to be let.
- Allow non-essential moves to go ahead including mutual exchanges and management moves
- Show prospective tenants a prospective home.
Of course, all the above is subject to the guidance on social distancing but those acting for landlords may meet up with tenants and their families where “reasonably necessary” to facilitate a house move.
For those social landlords with properties to sell, they can now open up their sales office – again subject to social distancing and the guidance around work places (which is beyond the scope of this [but further guidance from Tozers can be found here ]). Potential buyers travelling to such offices are now able to do so under the amended regulations.
Essentially, the measures appear to have been introduced to get the UK housing market moving again. They would not apply where the tenant is not moving home so, for example, it does not enable disrepair surveyors to enter and inspect a tenant’s property – this would not be a reasonable excuse.
The Government has released Non Statutory Guidance following the amendments to the Coronavirus Regulations yesterday. The new Guidance is here.
The Guidance covers specific advice to various industries including social landlord, private landlords and letting agents as well as guidance around the Right to Buy process.
For further advice and guidance contact a member of our supportive Affordable Housing Team.