Rising rates of Covid-19 in Newcastle have seen the numbers having to self-isolate increase hugely.
Rising rates of Covid-19 in Newcastle have seen the numbers having to self-isolate increase hugely. This is particularly difficult when students would normally be moving tenancies. The Student Advice Centre have answered some common questions to help you navigate this difficult situation.
Guidance for Landlords and Tenants
Moving home is not appropriate if those involved pose a direct risk of transmitting coronavirus (COVID-19). See: Covid-19 Stay at Home guidance:
All parties involved should be as flexible as possible over this period and be prepared to delay moves, for example if someone becomes ill with coronavirus (COVID-19) during the moving process or has to self-isolate. Clinically extremely vulnerable individuals will need to carefully consider their personal situation and the circumstances of their home move and may wish to seek medical advice before deciding whether to commit or go ahead with a move
Q. My tenancy ends before my self isolation period ends, what can I do?
A: The UK government website says "landlords should avoid moving tenants who are showing symptoms of coronavirus or self-isolating". But this is guidance, not law. NHS 119 have advised staff at the Student Advice Centre that if anyone who is in isolation is likely to become homeless as a result on a landlord's action, or inaction, but who has not tested positive for COVID may move if absolutely necessary, but must take extra precautions whilst doing so, remaining in their vehicle at all times throughout the journey, and continue to self-isolate once they have reached their new home.
Anyone who has tested positive should remain in the property, students can contact the private rented service if landlords are refusing to let them stay as they legally can not evict, so the private rented service can get involved and inform landlords of their legal responsibilities. You may wish to contact the Local Public Health department, e.g. at Newcastle City Council.
It is also important that you keep away from other tenants, as passing Covid onto others within a household will delay your isolation end date.
Q. Can my landlord charge me for the extra days I have to stay in the property while isolating?
A. yes. It is likely that the next tenancy has had to be pushed back to accomodate you, the Landlord may need to compensate them for the tenancy not being able to start in the form of not charging rent or accommodating them elsewhere.
Talk to your landlord or agent about how to navigate these difficulties, and if concerned book an appointment with the Student Advice Centre. This situation is new and difficult for all involved, therefore it is important to be patient and understanding of everyones perspectives.
Q. Can my landlord charge me for a professional cleaning?
A. This depends on your tenancy agreement. They can charge damages for breach of tenancy obligations if the contract permits. They cannot require you to have the property professionally cleaned, but may have asked for it to be 'cleaned to a professional standard'.
If they are wanting it professionally cleaned because members of the household have tested positive for Covid-19, or to provide reassurance to incoming tenants, this charge should not be passed onto you.
If a Landlord has chosen to have a Professional clean, you still have an obligation to clean the property yourself, as in any other year. Doing this can limit the risk of exposure to the professional cleaners by cleaning the property first. If the property is found in a bad state this can be reflected through your deposit return.
Q. My tenancy has been pushed back due to others isolating in my next house, what can I do?
A. If you have an overlap of contracts, stay where you are. If not, try to negotiate an extention with your current Letting Agent / Landlord.
You may be able to get temporary accommodation from Newcastle University, this may be at a cost.
More FAQs related to Covid-19 can be found here.
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