Landlords should make sure their properties have good ventilation including opening windows to the extent of at least one twentieth of floor space. Any lost or broken keys to window locks should be replaced as a matter of course.
The advice comes in an open letter to landlords issued this week via local authorities by housing minister Christopher Pincher.
Published as part of the Government’s response to the continuing COVID crisis, the letter points out that letting fresh air into indoor spaces can help remove air that contains virus particles and thereby help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
‘We ask that you help us in our efforts to encourage behaviours to help combat the virus and cascade the message of the importance of good ventilation to your residents’, said Pincher.
‘Good ventilation will not only help reduce transmission of the virus, but will also help reduce condensation, dampness, mould and fungal growth and dust mites’.
Besides making sure properties have windows that can be opened, the letter also asks landlords to consider installing mechanical ventilation systems in bathrooms, kitchens and other areas. They should also to make sure tenants have clear instructions about how to operate ventilation and heating systems. Meanwhile, problems with damp should be investigated and rectified promptly, said Pincher.
High energy costs may well make tenants wary about ventilating their properties in winter, said the minister. Landlords should direct those affected towards the Simple Energy Advice website which includes, among other things, information about financial support available.
The Government has also updated its COVID protection advice to landlords on other fronts. Recently issued were: