The Department for Levelling up, Housing and Communities has written to all landlords in England, including commercial organisations running private homes, asking them to ensure adequate ventilation to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The message, which includes guidance, is aimed at all landlords in both social-rented and private-rental sectors and sets out the importance of fresh air and good ventilation to remove air that contains virus particles, as well as reducing compensation, dampness, mould and fungal growth, and dust mites.
The letter says: “If you have responsibility as a landlord, whether in the Social Rented Sector or Private Rental Sector, 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. Included in this letter is a summary of the key messages for residents, from the guidance, and a toolkit of additional materials to cascade through relevant channels.”
The guidance includes asking landlords to:
- Make sure that all habitable rooms have functioning openable windows.
- Make sure that all bathrooms/kitchens have either functioning openable windows and/or extract ventilation.
- Consider installing positive pressure or constant run ventilation systems.
- Ensure that tenants understand how to operate ventilation and heating systems.
- Ensure that problems with damp are fully investigated and addressed promptly.
- Prioritise any planned works that might improve ventilation.
Mechanical ventilation systems should be maintained properly and set to bring fresh air in and not recirculate indoor air if possible. The guidance adds that opening windows for just 10 minutes an hour can reduce the risks of virus spread. Windows should still be left slightly open in cold weather.
The guidance does not cover single-person households, although should be followed if they have visitors in their home. The advice also includes guidance on ventilation when someone is self-isolating.
The letter also outlines options for financial and practical support to keep warm and well while ventilating adequately.
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