COVID 19 has had a big impact on the Glasgow rental property market. One of the main issues for landlords and letting agents at the start of lockdown was the pausing of ‘in person’ property viewings. Fortunately, we were already set up to market all our new properties with virtual tours, as part of our normal service. Even so, with most of our staff now working from home we had to make a number of other changes to our working practices. We updated our website with extra guidance for landlords and tenants and also increased the number of key processes that could be carried out online.
However, since those early days, many restrictions have eased. Significantly, the Scottish Government announced that house moves could resume from 29th June. Then on the 9th July 2020 they published more specific guidance for the rental sector which contained key information for landlords and tenants.
In Person Viewings
- ‘In person’ property viewings are now permitted. However, virtual viewing should still be the preferred choice for first viewings. In person viewings should only take place where there is no other alternative and there is a strong likelihood of renting.
- Anyone who does view a property must comply with the latest Scottish Governments guidelines on physical distancing and the use of face masks.
- ‘In person’ viewings are not allowed in properties with tenants who are either showing COVID symptoms or have been asked to self-isolate.
- Where possible repairs, gas and electricals safety checks and EPCs should be carried out in the period between an old tenant moving out and a new tenant moving in.
- If possible, letting agents should consider obtaining landlord and tenant consent for inventory appointments to occur before a tenant moves in or after a tenant moves out.
- Properties should be deep cleaned in the period between new tenancies
Repairs & Health & Safety Inspections
- As mentioned, the preferred option is to carry out repairs, gas and electrical safety checks etc. between tenancies or when the property is unoccupied. When this is not possible, measures should be in place to ensure physical distancing is maintained e.g. residents keep to another room etc.
- Landlords should make every effort to comply with electrical and gas safety requirements. Where a tenant has COVID symptoms or is self-isolating and work cannot be carried out, landlords will not be in breach so long as they can show that they have taken reasonable steps to comply.
- Work should not go ahead if either the contractor of any of the tenants are showing symptoms of COVID or are self- isolating
- Any tradespeople required to entering people’s homes must observe social distancing, use appropriate and proportionate protective equipment, and follow the guidance on sanitation.
Although it is clear that restrictions in Scotland have eased, the situation remains very fragile. In fact, Glasgow is currently under a ‘local lockdown’ with additional restrictions on who can enter a household. For now, the guidelines for tenanted properties are not affected, but this could change. The local restrictions are set to be in place for an initial 2 week period but the Scottish Government has not ruled out further action if it believes additional measures are required. Unfortunately, it seems likely that the impact of COVID 19 will be with us for some time to come.
Western Lettings is a highly accredited letting agency in Glasgow specialising in property letting and property management. If you want to find out more about our services, please get in touch or give us a call on 0141 357 0436