Staying Put: Unvaccinated Tenants Who Test Positive Cannot Legally Move

An announcement has been made by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, updating their Covid advice for moving homes. 

The pandemic has been a stressful time, but unfortunately, we are not clear of it in 2022, as new updates to the guidelines just keep coming.

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The latest update deals with the fact that those who are unvaccinated can’t legally move if they or someone they live with tests positive.

Un-jabbed renters and house buyers will now be unable to move house if they want to if they test positive for Covid-19. Those who have been vaccinated are only advised to test and stay home if their lateral flow test is showing positive.

These guidelines come from GOV.UK explaining that you are legally required to self isolate :

  • if you’re aged 18 years 6 months or over and
  • not fully vaccinated and
  • you are living in the same household as someone with Covid

Governmental advice also notes there is a greater risk during a house move. Moving unfortunately may need to be delayed if anyone in the transaction shows symptoms of Covid or is self-isolating. 

If your tenant tests positive and is planning on moving, be patient, yet be firm on relaying this information to them. 

Landlord and tenant relationships are vitally important during the pandemic, so to avoid strains during this unprecedented time, keep communication open for the both of you at all times. On the other hand, if you have a new potential tenant moving in, be aware of the safety measures you should follow should you have any upcoming property viewings. 

Moving Home Advice

Covid-19 is very much still a risk in our world. If you’re a landlord struggling to understand what responsibilities are yours to maintain, check out our Guide to Maintenance during Covid-19. Despite the pandemic, your responsibilities are still the same so it’s vital to know how to deal with emergency repairs, chilly wet winters, and healthy roofs and gutters – especially if there are anymore potential lockdowns in sight. 

The government currently has England moved to Plan B in response to slowing down the spread and tackling the risks of the Omicron variant, and with these fast-paced changing times it’s important to keep yourself in-the-know. 

For those who’d like a refresher on what rules are currently in place, check the governmental guidelines below (correct as of 14th January 2022): 

  • Face coverings are required by law in most indoor settings. 
  • Office workers who can work from home should do so. 
  • Certain venues and events will be required by law to check that all visitors aged 18 years or over are fully vaccinated, have proof of a negative test in the last 48 hours, or have an exemption.

Moving home during Covid-19 advice from GOV.UK also states: 

We encourage all parties involved to be as flexible as possible and be prepared to delay moves, for example if one of those involved becomes ill with Covid-19 during the moving process or has to self-isolate

In an announcement today, January 14th, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said that self-isolation periods in England for those who test positive for Covid-19 have been cut from seven days to five. 

Currently the rules state those who test positive are able to end their isolation period after seven days if they receive a negative lateral flow test on days six and seven – with the tests taken 24 hours apart.

What is the impact of reducing the isolation period? New research by the UKHSA shows only 1 in 20 cases are still infectious, with two negative lateral flow tests by day seven – nearly the same as 5% of the cases released after 10 days with no testing.

Javid said data from UK Health Security Agency shows around two-thirds of positive cases are no longer infectious by the end of day five, and quotes: 

We want to use the testing capacity that we’ve built up to help these people leave isolation safely. These two tests are critical to these balanced and proportionate plans, and I’d urge everyone to take advantage of the capacity we have built up in tests, so we can restore the freedoms to this country while we’re keeping everyone safe.”

This change will come into effect this coming Monday, January 17th, 2022. 

Covid-19 Steps to Take

Don’t forget it is still possible to catch and spread Covid-19, even if you are fully vaccinated. Remind yourself and your loved ones of the governmental mandate of ‘Hands, face, space’ with the following:

  • Wear a face covering in mandatory and enclosed spaces.
  • Continue to wash your hands thoroughly and regularly.
  • Make space for each other and continue to practice social distancing.

Interested in how you can prepare for the unknown? Our Pandemic Planning tips help you figure out how to protect yourself and your tenants as a landlord during the global health crisis. If you are a tenant struggling financially, check out our advice on how to cope and take action here. 

As GOV.UK states: 

We all need to do what we can to reduce the spread of Covid-19 to protect others and to reduce the risk of new variants developing and spreading.

It’s a feature of our lives for the foreseeable future, and we can all play our part by doing our best to adhere to the guidelines. There have been difficult days behind us and there may be difficult months ahead, but together through caution and common sense we can continue to protect and look out for each other.

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