Landlords of both commercial and residential properties should review the recent government guidance on accessing rented properties.  This gives examples of urgent health and safety issues which should still be addressed, e.g. repairing roof leaks. It suggests that parties may look to use smartphone inspections where possible and will need to assess whether it is reasonable and safe to achieve the access required for remedial work, in line with government guidance.  The same assessment should be made in relation to routine safety tasks such as fire alarm testing and gas safety certificates.  Local authorities have apparently been encouraged to take "a pragmatic approach to enforcement", but landlords will need to keep careful records where COVID-19 restrictions prevent them from meeting their obligations.

As part of our national effort to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak it's vital that local authorities, landlords and tenants work together to keep rented properties safe... It has never been more important that landlords and tenants take a pragmatic, commonsense approach to resolving issues.

Originally published April 7, 2020.

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