Private Landlords and Tenants - Coronavirus (COVID-19)

In response to the current restrictions our aim is to help restrict the spread of the virus by supporting people to stay in their own homes and to minimise visits to homes from anyone unless essential to address imminent risks to health.

This is constant with both the Governments and the National Residential Landlords Association advice. (NLA and RLA have jointly produced guidance, which can be found at the below)

See guidance from Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government

Minimising Health Risks

  • Landlords, Tenants and contractors should now be staying at home following Government guidance.
  • Tenants should inform their landlord/agent and fellow tenants if they develop symptoms and the household should be self-isolating in accordance with government guidance.
  • Landlords/agents should establish whether it’s absolutely necessary to make property visits. In most cases, non-essential repairs and certificated inspections should be postponed until the government restrictions are lifted.
  • If it is essential to visit a property and the landlord/agent/contractor and tenant are not symptomatic, social distancing measures should be taken. Before leaving the property, all parties should wash their hands to prevent any cross contamination.

The new selective licence scheme 2020-2025.

Further to the advice published by the council on the 24th March 2020, in which the Council offered its initial reaction to how the Coronavirus (COVID-19) would affect the start of the new selective licensing areas and wider housing enforcement, the council has undertaken a further review, in light of the extended national restrictions.

It was agreed on the 24th April 2020 that the new Selective Licence Designations will come into force on the 1st May, as previously stated. However, the initial application period has been extended to 6 months. This means applications for licences can be postponed until the 31st October 2020 without incurring any penalty or being in breach of the licence scheme. As before, the licence will be back dated to the scheme start date of the 1st May 2020 and run for 5 years.

This extension allows prospective licence holders to avoid any licence payment or the need to provide an application with gas, electric or energy performance certificates until October. This situation will remain under review depending on how the Coronavirus situation develops in the coming months.

The announcement today ensures that, fully completed applications including the application fee of £68, presented with all appropriate certificates and supporting documentation, received before the 31st October 2020 will be considered within the application window, avoid any late application penalty charge and be eligible to the licence rebate of £127, if all other rebate criteria are fulfilled.

For those who wish to progress their applications before October, the online application process will remain available. Licence holders who have already applied, will be contacted and offered the opportunity to delay the maintenance part of the licence fee until the end of October.

The web pages for the 2015-2020 licensing scheme will be taken down from the Council website this week. You may find old links and short cuts will no longer work. The new scheme web page is already live and can be found at;

Here you will find full detail of the areas under the new declarations, application information and details of fees, the licence rebate for high performing properties/licence holders and penalties.

Housing Enforcement across the borough

The council’s approach to housing issues more generally remains as below. Landlords can keep up to date with housing specific issues, by monitoring the regularly updated information on Government and National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) websites.

View the guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities

Visit the Landlords website

The Council housing enforcement team will be operating to new procedures for the duration of the restrictions.

Housing inspections will not take place unless the complaint relates to an imminent risk to health. Any complaints made to the Council will be addressed by communicating with both landlord/agent and tenant by telephone/email. Where possible, we will ask for photographs of defects and use these to establish severity.

Where an issue is judged a Category 1 hazard or serious enough to warrant action from the landlord but NOT an imminent risk to health, an Improvement Notice will be served but deferred until the restrictions are lifted, there will be no charge for the Notices in this period. If the issue is considered an imminent risk to health, a visit will be made, where it is safe to do so, and landlords will be expected to arrange immediate repairs or other measures to safeguard your tenant.

The Council understands the difficulties the letting industry is facing during the Coronavirus restrictions and the personal anxiety for both landlords and tenants. The Council is committed to providing assistance where it can.

I would like to offer my best wishes to all, please stay at home and observe the Government guidance and stay safe and well.

Best regards,

Chris Stone

Community Protection Manager Community Safety and Street Scene

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council