How housing repair teams are responding to lockdown measures
Since March of 2020 when the outbreak of Coronavirus began in the UK; repairs and how to ensure that tenants could access fixes for their homes was at the forefront of our services to clients.
With strict rules around social distancing and government guidance putting a ban on tradespeople entering properties, landlords had to work out how to ensure that the most urgent repairs were done safely and how to overcome the severe backlog that had built up once restrictions were eased.
Of the 17 associations that responded to Inside Housing’s survey, the majority said they were adopting a largely business-as-usual approach and still booking in and carrying out routine repairs. Those adopting business as usual were operating with the caveat that there was a lot more diligence around social distancing, risk assessments and personal protective equipment (PPE).
For those council and social housing associations that were reluctant to their tenant’s please for repairs to their rental property, we ensure that the COVID’19 restrictions, did not further delay the repairs to be reviewed by our surveyors and ultimately completed; bringing the property up to the correct legal standards, following the necessary guidelines set out by:
- The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985
- The Fitness For Habitation Act 2018
The following aspects are followed to ensure the safety for tenants and staff is maintained throughout the surveyor and repairs process:
- Risk assessments are undertaken to analyse the property, the tenant and the works due to be surveyed upon entering the property. This is to ensure the proper processes are in place in order to proceed the appointment following government guidelines.
- Increase in PPE. Necessary PPE to be worn and used upon inspections and when works are taking place inside the property. This is a must for those working at the tenants property.
- External works to continue as usual.
It has been highlighted to us that there are some councils who are unwilling to assess new works during the pandemic period or to allow them to proceed without a second opinion. From our stance, the repairs due in our clients rental properties are not new. The client has already suffered for a period of time with no help from their landlord, therefore the delay should be be continued any further. Delays can cause a number of future problems such as:
- Structural damage
- Faulty Electrics
- Heating & Water issues
- Mental strains on the client
- Health implications caused by the disrepair to the client and other members who reside at the property
- Loss of enjoyment to one’s home
The following housing associations have stated the below updates since the pandemic:
- Live West Housing has increased its repairs wait time from 28 days to now six weeks.
- Vivid Homes said it is continuing with annual safety checks and fire works despite currently not carrying out internal repairs work.
We want to make all council and social housing tenants aware that in light of the current circumstances due to the COVID’19 pandemic, we are still ensuring that there are no delays on repairs required in your home. Our firm of trusted solicitors will help you through the process, where your requests have previously been ignored and will continue to do so until all aspects are brought up to standards.
If you have been let down by your landlord and wish to pursue a Housing Disrepair claim, please contact our team today so we can begin the process.