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Housing Minister’s letter to social housing residents 21/05/2020 Labelled as Legislation, Regulation, Tenants

Housing Minister Christopher Pincher has written an open letter to social housing residents to provide update from the Government on the steps being taken to support them during the Government's plan to reopen society as the country emerges from the coronavirus lockdown.


In the letter published on 18 May 2020, the Housing Minister said that the Government was "expecting many landlords to resume external planned maintenance works and services" but that "internal planned maintenance will only take place in homes where residents are not shielding or self-isolating".


The letter also opens the door for landlords to carry out repairs in empty properties, so that they can be relet to new tenants.


Publication of the Minister's letter comes after the Government published guidance to help employers and employees understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic, including guidance on carrying out construction and outdoor work and guidance on carrying out work in people's homes.


The Housing Minister's letter does recognise that as we start to emerge from the Government's lockdown measures, landlords should be able to begin to reinstate routine as well as essential repairs for most households but that as only urgent repairs were carried out during the first phase of the lockdown there will inevitably be a backlog of repairs (including repairs that were not reported during the lockdown) that landlords will need to address, so it may take longer than normal to carry out more non-essential work.


Councils will be beginning to plan for how they can begin to reinstate their normal repair and maintenance services whilst at the same time ensuring that their staff and contractors can work safely, maintaining social distancing and in turn protecting residents. ARCH has been informed by officials at the Ministry of Housing that local authority landlords can expect to receive further guidance shortly on carrying out repairs and maintenance and estate services, including routine and planned maintenance and repairs to vacant properties, during this phase of the crisis.


The Minster's letter clarifies that no work should be carried out in any home where the household is self-isolating or where an individual is being shielded "unless it is to remedy a direct risk".


ARCH and other local authority representative groups have been asked to share the letter as widely as possible with our members and the Government is asking all housing authorities to place it on their websites, promote it on their social media platforms and distribute it through electronic mailing lists. 

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