Our tenants are in the last two months of their initial fixed-term contract. At this point we usually make an inspection of the property, before deciding how to proceed.
We are unwilling to undertake the inspection due to COVID-19. We are both over 70, and whilst we are fit and healthy, we are not taking any chances with our health.
Is it possible to let the tenancy become periodic, then do the inspection when we can, and then if we decide to give a fixed-term tenancy, to generate one at this point? I understand that we do not need to give a fixed-term tenancy - just keeping all options open. Thanks.
Regarding repair and safety inspections (gas and electric for example), 'Landlords’ obligations have not changed: “We recommend that access to a property is only proposed for serious and urgent issues” and to “follow the Government’s latest guidance necessary to help stop the spread of the virus which you can find here https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus”.
Overall, the advice is that in the event you are unable to gain access to the property while maintaining Covid19 safety precautions, or if you are unable to engage a registered gas / elec engineer to carry out the work due to a shortage of available engineers, you will be expected to be able to demonstrate that you took reasonable steps to comply with the law. “This should include records of communication with the tenant and details of your engineers attempts to gain access. You should seek to arrange the safety check as soon as all parties are available. If you are unable to secure the services of your usual engineers, you must make reasonable attempts to obtain alternative services. Landlords will need to assess the risks for each situation on a case-by-case basis.”
If you are keen to see the state of the property, then the following suggestions have been made by others:
– Look to arrange a video call (Skype, WhatsApp, FaceTime, etc.) with the tenant, ideally recording the call as they show you the state of the property, or simply ask them to video the state of the place and send it to you.
– Ask the tenant to take digitally dated photos of each area in the property, including the garden, and send them to you