Coronavirus, tradespeople & property maintenance

Dawn over the Forth - to take your mind off COVID-19 / Coronavirus

Coronavirus, tradespeople & property maintenance

Can tradespeople work in domestic properties? (Updated 18/06/20)

In a word “Yes”

Specific wording from THIS SCOT GOVT WEBSITE is as follows:

“Work carried out in people’s homes, for example by tradespeople carrying out repairs and maintenance, can continue, provided that the tradesperson is well and is not showing coronavirus symptoms and neither they nor any of their household are self-isolating”

As long as residents of the property and the tradesperson are well and social distancing can be maintained then HomeForce are providing tradespeople.

Many tradespeople who halted or limited their operations are now returning to work. Sourcing materials is still problematic in some cases but suppliers are now starting to restock and making the materials they provide more accessible. Disposal of waste has also been difficult though this is now easing with the opening of disposal centres.

  1. Guidance for those having tradespeople visit their property
  2. Suggestions for tradespeople
  3. Advice for Landlords
  4. Advice for tenants
  5. What services is HomeForce providing
  6. Self-help

Suggestions for dealing with a tradesperson’s visit

If a boiler breaks down, a toilet stops flushing, a drain get’s blocked, a roof leaks’ or an electrical circuit develops a fault then repairs to these are considered essential.

For any tradesperson visit we offer the following guidance :

  • Advise the tradesperson before they visit if anyone in the household is showing any of the symptoms of Coronavirus or if they are self-isolating. If this is the case we recommend that they should not enter the property.
  • Agree before the visit how you and the tradesperson will distance yourselves from each other – either inside or outside
  • On arrival at a property ask the tradesperson to ring the door bell and step back two meters (or agree another means to communicate)
  • Ask the tradesperson to wash their hands before touching anything in your property. Provide them with a separate towel (or paper towel) if possible. If you have, some, provide them with hand sanitiser.
  • Stay in another room or even outside while the tradesperson is in the property.
  • If possible do all communication via phone; video calls are possible on WhatsApp, FaceTime, Zoom and other apps.
  • Wipe down all surfaces after a tradesperson’s visit
  • Pay by bank transfer or card.

Suggestions for Tradespeople

  • Ask if anyone in the property is displaying any symptoms or is self-isolating.
  • Guidance is that only work that is essential should be carried out in houses where an individual is sheilding.
  • Agree before getting to the property how you will distance yourself from the customer.
  • On arrival (if face to face discussion is needed) ring the door bell and step back two meters.
  • Carry hand sanitiser in vans. Use it before and after any property visit.
  • Carry and use latex gloves.
  • Ask the customer to stay in another room or even outside.
  • Wipe down all surfaces and items you have touched once work is completed
  • Stop work and self-isolate if you feel symptoms or come into contact with someone showing symptoms.
  • Avoid taking payment in cash.
  • Take payment for materials upfront – some wholesalers are ceasing credit accounts.
  • Check which suppliers are still open
  • Get your administration up-to-date. Get invoices done and cash in your account
  • Use any down time to plan how you can make your business more efficient in the future
  • Contact HomeForce to see how we can help.
  • Keep your eye on Govt Websites for what support may be available.
Advice for Landlords
  1. Regulations, compliance & property inspections
  • Grace periods have been introduced for mandatory checks (Gas Safety Certificates, PATs, EICRs).
  • If boilers have been regularly serviced and gas safety inspections been carried out annually there is a low risk of danger to residents of a house.
  • Non-essential property visits such as maintenance inspections should be suspended.

2. Rent Payments (See advice for tenants below)

  • The Scottish Government has asked Landlords to show some leeway to tenants who may suffer financial hardship from the impact of the coronavirus.
  • To assist landlords they are urging banks to offer six month mortgage holidays including for Buy-to-let mortgages. Three months has at time of writing been agreed. The mortgage holidays are on the understanding that they will be passed on to tenants.
  • Legislation relating to mandatory eviction on the grounds of rent arrears has been temporarily altered. Now a tenant must be six months in arrears.

3. Landlord Financial Hardship

  • Advice from UK Finance is to speak to your bank about your financial situation if property rental income is a primary source of income.

4. Vacant Properties

  • Open house style viewings should not be held.
  • If possible carry out virtual viewings. Be aware that regulations on consumer protection will still apply i.e. no false or misleading information.
  • If a property is currently tenanted the tenant has a right to refuse access for viewings.

5. Early ending to tenancy

  • With universities and colleges closing early some tenants may wish to end tenancies early.
  • It is unlikely that authorities will be sympathetic to enforcement of tenancy agreements in the current circumstances

6. Eviction

  • From 07 April 2020 the eviction notice period landlords must give tenants has been temporarily extended to 6 months unless they are ending the tenancy for particular reasons including anti social behaviour, criminal activity or the landlord or their family need to move into the property.
  • All grounds for eviction are also temporarily discretionary – meaning they are referred to the Tribunal, when requested.
  • The laws apply to all evictions after 07 April. Those issued before 07 April are not affected.
  • Contrary to some reports eviction is NOT illegal.
  • More information on changes to notice periods for private residential tenancies can be found here
  • Information on notice periods for short assured and assured tenancies can be found here

Advice for tenants

  1. Rent Payments
  • If you are, or think you might be, struggling to pay rent or have any other concerns speak first to your landlord / landlord’s agent. Do this sooner rather than later.
  • Where you are eligible apply for Statutory Sick Pay and / or Universal Credit
  • Tenants may also be able to get help through the Scottish Welfare Fund
  • An increase in housing benefit and Universal credit to 30 percent of market rents.

2. Property Visits

  • Non-essential visits should temporarily be suspended
  • If something breaks down or leaks contact your landlord or agent
  • If a visit by an tradesperson is considered essential see tradespersons visits above

3. HMO Properties

  • Tenants in shared properties showing symptoms should notify their fellow tenants and the landlord / property manager and stay at home for 7 days.
  • The entire household should self isolate for 14 days from the date first symptoms appear fo any one in the household
  • In general, tenants are advised to stay in their own room as much as possible, use their own / separate towels, crockery, & cloths.
  • If one person is self-isolating routines should be scheduled such that they use the bathroom last.
  • This sheet is government guidance for isolation period for household

4. Eviction

What services is HomeForce providing?

Is providing tradespeople for most eventualities. When we do not have someone available we can usually put you in touch with someone we’d be willing to do work in our own homes.

In particular you might like to consider Outdoor Projects
Gardening
Outdoor Painting
Power Washing
Fencing
Window Cleaning
Conservatory Cleaning

For emergency or urgent work we have available

Or for those who need help keeping in touch:

If you have any questions, please give us a call 0131 315 0000

Self help for when something goes wrong

You Tube has literally thousand’s of “How to” videos. We also have articles on our knowledge base that are intended as a bit of help so you may not need to call out a tradesperson at all.

These articles are not intended as complete DIY guides, they were written to give basic understandings of processes. If in doubt call HomeForce.  We can usually point you in the right direction if we can’t help directly.

Disclaimer Note

The situation with Coronavirus is changing rapidly. The information provided above is based on the situation at time of writing. We’ll do our best to keep the page updated as we receive information. Please always check other sources.

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