Minister Issues Covid Instructions Direct to Landlords

The Prime Minister seems reluctant to speak out with regards to his plans for managing the latest Covid wave, but his ministers are not quite so nervous about making their voices heard!

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Housing Minister Christopher Pincher has delivered an open letter to landlords, urging them to do their bit in helping stem the spread of the latest variant, by working with their tenants as much as possible. 

The task set for landlords came via advice in this letter, urging them to speak with tenants and explain the massive benefits of good ventilation in a property to combat the spread of Covid-19, and how important a flow of fresh air is in indoor spaces. 

Christopher Pincher’s letter (which you can view in full here) noted:

If you have responsibility as a landlord, whether in the social rented sector or private rental sector, we ask that you help us in our efforts to encourage behaviours to help combat the virus and cascade the message of the importance of good ventilation to your residents.

What was Christopher Pincher’s advice?

The advice, which is part of the Covid-19 response Autumn and Winter Plan, notes that this will not only help combat the virus, but also play a part in tackling issues such as damp, condensation and mould – just what everyone wants to find under the Christmas tree this year! We’ve covered mould and damp before, if you’re looking to learn more about a couple of landlords’ worst enemies. 

Pincher’s letter also gives advice for landlords to implement to make sure that homes are properly ventilated, including: 

  • Ensure that all habitable rooms have functioning openable windows (including providing replacement keys where these have been misplaced/lost) – ideally with opening areas of at least 1/20th of the floor area
  • Ensure that all bathrooms/kitchens have either functioning openable windows and/or (preferably both) appropriate functioning extract ventilation
  • Consider installing positive pressure or constant run ventilation systems to ensure there is adequate background ventilation and to reduce the likelihood of condensation, and ensure that such systems are operating effectively, with filters etc replaced at appropriate intervals
  • Ensure that tenants have clear instructions and understand how to operate ventilation and heating systems, and are advised on the best ways to achieve a healthy and economic balance of heating, ventilation and moisture production within the home
  • Ensure that problems with damp are fully investigated and addressed promptly.

What do tenants think?

However, despite the minister’s best intentions, the letter shows that there is also a clear understanding that tenants may not be overly impressed with their landlords requesting a whistling wind blowing across their Christmas table and cooling their crackers. 

Details are given about available help for tenants to heat their homes, including the Warm Home Discount Scheme, Cold Weather Payments and Winter Fuel Payments. 

Recent research has highlighted that over 60% of tenants are worrying about the fuel costs this winter, so it’s positive to see that the government have noted this in their correspondence.

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