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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

How do I set the hours that my employees will work under the Flexible Furlough Scheme?

Employers and employees can decide the split of the hours of work and the hours of furlough. There is no maximum or minimum requirements. You can change the arrangement, by agreement, from time to time.

When claiming for employees who are flexibly furloughed, you should not claim until you are sure of the exact hours they will work during the claim period.

Can those on sick leave or who have been advised to self-isolate be furloughed?

If an employee is self-isolating (as a result of the pandemic) they may be entitled to SSP. Employers should not furlough employees in this category just because of their absence, but they can furlough if there are genuine business reasons for doing so and other eligibility requirements are met. In these cases the employees should no longer receive sick pay and they would be classified as furloughed.

The guidance has specified that those on long term sick leave or who are ‘shielding’ for 12 weeks in line with public health guidance can also be furloughed. But it is important that you clarify that they do fall in the category of extremely vulnerable (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19). It is up to employers to decide whether to furlough employees who are shielding or on long-term sick leave.

You can claim from the CJRS and also for the two week SSP rebate scheme (see below) for the same employee but not for the same period of time. Therefore if you have a furloughed employee who becomes ill and you subsequently move them to SSP you cannot claim the furlough rate of pay. If you keep the employee on the furloughed rate you can continue to claim this under CJRS.

Which agreements will qualify for exemption?

There are four criteria which must be satisfied if an agreement is to be considered exempt:

  • It must improve production or distribution, or promoting technical or economic progress – the guidance suggests that cooperation ensuring essential goods and services can be made available to the public, or an important sub-set of the public such as key workers, will satisfy this criterion.
  • It must allow consumers a fair share of the resulting benefit – the guidance suggests this will be the case where the action prevents or reduces shortages.
  • It must not impose on the undertakings concerned restrictions which are not indispensable to the attainment of the above benefits – the guidance suggests this will be the case where the cooperation is the only reasonable option due to the urgency of the crisis and where the cooperation is temporary in nature.
  • It must not afford the undertakings concerned the possibility of eliminating competition – therefore the parties must endeavour to retain competition in respect of the products (in particular price competition).
Does a sponsor need to report a change in workplace if a Tier 2 visa holder is working from home as a result of Covid-19?

No. The Home Office has confirmed that sponsors do not need to report sponsored workers as working from home, where this is directly related to the coronavirus outbreak.

However any UK employers who sponsor overseas workers, should also ensure that they remain compliant with their other sponsor licence duties, which includes reporting any change to an employee’s salary and duties.

When should I apply to extend the period allowed to file accounts?

The application has to be made before the date on which the accounts should have been filed, so this process can’t be used if you are already late. If you don’t make the application before your filing deadline, then a fine will automatically be generated if your accounts are filed late. Whilst you could appeal against such a fine on the grounds that the delay was caused by coronavirus issues, this is likely to be a much more time consuming and uncertain process that applying in advance.

It does not appear that the process applies to Confirmation Statements or other returns.