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I’m a housing provider. How do I continue to manage disrepair during the coronavirus outbreak?

The practicalities and processes regarding disrepair claims will undoubtedly be affected. Housing providers will have to adopt a risk-based approach and consider government guidance to handle claims going forward. Key points to consider are:

  • Compliance with the Pre-Action Protocol for Housing Conditions Claims (particularly disclosure)
  • The practicalities of inspection
  • Non-urgent repairs

Related FAQs

What if the status determination is disputed?

You should have in place a dispute resolution procedure that sets out the appeal process or contractors or the agency as appropriate. You must respond to an appeal within 45 days.

If the status determination is disputed you should consider the contractor or agency’s reasons objections. You must consider if the original determination is to be maintained and give reasons for this. Or a new determination with reasons can be provided if appropriate.

Records of disputed determinations and the outcome of any appeal should be kept.

VIDEO: Market outlooks – the before, during and after

At 10am on the 21st July, we hosted the fourth of our “in conversation…” webinars, this time featuring the ninth largest private bank in the world, Swiss-based Julius Baer. Ward Hadaway partner Emma Digby once again lead the conversation, this time with Luke Downes and Darren Hirst from their investment and relationship teams on “Market outlooks – the before, during and after”. They were joined by Andrew Evans from our private client team to feed in his perspective. This will be of interest to individuals who are thinking about investment portfolios and pension pots, but also businesses keen to see how investors are viewing their sectors, markets and customers.

Luke and Darren took us through how the markets looked pre-Covid, how they responded to the pandemic, and obviously most importantly what we might expect going forwards. They took a look at the sectors that are seeing the quickest bounce-back, discuss which countries are likely to be the most attractive for investors, and where the long term financial gains are expected to be. They also touched on that imminent event, shrouded in mist recently but no less significant – Brexit! What is the expected effect on the markets, and who are likely to be the winners and the losers?

Can a Charity use its restricted funds for its general funding in the current circumstances?

Many charities have money that are considered restricted funds which are given to the charity or raised for a specific purpose.  The Charity Commission gives guidance on this, please see the link below. Depending on the circumstances in which these monies have been given to a charity or raised you may or may not be able to use them.

Monies raised in an appeal or specific fund raising campaign are unlikely to be available as it is likely to be impossible to get the permission of the donor to change the use.  If however you have had monies donated for a specific purpose and you can identify the donor you can use these funds for general overheads and to pay wages etc. if you receive the donor’s specific permission to do so.

What can I do as an employer if employees are known to be breaking the local lockdown rules?

This will depend on the particular facts and the employee’s circumstances but an employee should co-operate with the employer so far as is necessary to enable compliance with any statutory duty or requirement relating to health and safety.

In addition, conduct outside of work can result in an employee’s dismissal if the conduct pertains to the employment relationship. If an employee breaches their lockdown rules and it affects their ability to work, such as it being no longer safe for them to attend work, or the reputation of the employer, these may be grounds for disciplinary action and subsequent dismissal.

What happens if an employee refuses to attend work because they are afraid of being exposed to COVID-19 particularly the new more transmissible strain?

An employee can refuse to attend work but their refusal to do so will have to be based on a reasonable belief that their health and safety is in danger.  Whether or not their refusal is reasonable will take into consideration factors such as the employee’s own health and whether they are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill if they contract Covid-19 and the steps their employer has out in place to mitigate the danger of contracting Covid-19 at work.

In such circumstances where the employee’s belief is deemed to be reasonable, they will be entitled to stay at home and receive full pay.

If an employee is subsequently dismissed for refusing to attend work in these circumstances, they may be able to bring a claim for unfair dismissal.