Coronavirus: What precautions should I take for my HMO?

Hello readers. The past few days and weeks have been extremely difficult for any business and it certainly is worrying how quickly things have taken hold and the landscape has most certainly changed for the foreseeable future.

Something that I have been discussing with our landlords is the precautions they ought to take to protect their tenants. This blog is my advice; however, I would like to stress that it certainly does not replace government guidance that may be issued subsequently.

Official Guidance

An HMO is quite different to a single let property as with more people living in close proximity means that there is a higher risk of infection spreading amongst tenants. The official guidance is for tenants to remain in their own rooms as much as possible and avoid communal areas.

In addition to this, tenants should use separate cutlery, crockery, clean their own dishes and use a separate tea towel. In addition, where possible, they should try to schedule routines so that any people self-isolating use the bathroom last, cleans surfaces thoroughly and uses separate towels and cloths.

The majority of HMO landlords are responsible for keeping the communal areas clean and this is something that you should consider, particularly if you have a tenant who is self-isolating. You should work closely with your cleaning company to ensure that the appropriate guidelines are followed.

With any external visits to your property, my advice is to see if these can be delayed. However, if the visit cannot be delayed, for example, because it is for an urgent repair, visitors should be provided with guidance on the right hygiene processes to follow.

Regular Inspections

Your HMOs will quite rightly have regular inspections. For example, we test things such as smoke alarms weekly in the properties we manage.

If an inspection is of a non-urgent nature and can be delayed, you should consider doing this. You should inform your tenants that a visit is due.

It is a good idea to make sure that anyone carrying out inspections is provided with the hygiene guidance in a formal manner.

Communication

One key to managing the current situation is excellent communication. You should issue all tenants with the official advice along with guidance on how to protect themselves and what to do if they are concerned.

You should advise tenants to contact you if they are experiencing any symptoms as well as remaining at home for a period of seven days. If their symptoms do not improve, they should contact NHS 111.

If you do have tenants who are self-isolating, you should ensure that excellent hygiene is maintained by all tenants and visitors.

Here are some links that you may find helpful:

I understand that these times will be concerning for many and we have been working round the clock to action the necessary plans to ensure continuity of service for all our landlords and tenants. I will be watching guidance closely and issuing further updates as the situation progresses.

If you need any advice or guidance about the actions you should take as an HMO landlord or run your own HMO and would like to discuss how we can help you at this time, I will be more than happy to help. Please email me on hasan@home-share.co.uk.

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