Although all age groups are at risk of contracting Covid-19, older people face a significant risk of developing severe illness if they contract the disease, and that is why Age UK London is concerned that some older tenants in the capital do not have the support they need during this difficult time.
But there are plenty of ways landlords can support older tenants during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the charity.
Age UK is asking landlords to:
1. Contact your older tenants Think about any older tenants you may have and contact them by phone, text or email to check if they are ok. Even if you contacted your tenant at the beginning of the lockdown please contact them again. We can all make assumptions about who may or may not need support but circumstances change. An older tenant may have a long-term health condition that you are unaware of.
2. Give your tenant details of their local Age UK Details of local Age UKs can be found here: https://bit.ly/LocalAgeUKsInLondon. Most local Age UKs have an Information and Advice Line for older people.
3. Put your tenant in touch with a local buddy Not all tenants will have a local support network to help with food shopping, collecting prescriptions and other tasks. If you have another tenant that lives locally ask if they could ‘buddy-up’ with a tenant in need of support. Your tenant may be new to the area and research has found that people are less likely to know their neighbours in areas with a large number of privately rented properties. Any support must be done in a way that keeps everyone safe. For more information about volunteering safely, click here.
4. Ask your tenant about any serious repairs and maintenance and make a safe and practical plan for the work to be undertaken Even if it is not possible to undertake some work during lockdown please keep your tenant informed about plans. The knowledge that repairs or maintenance will still be done will be reassuring for tenants.
5. Make a fair and practical rent payment plan One in three older tenants lives in poverty after the rent is paid. For someone just scraping by on a pension or an older worker that has lost their job as a result of the pandemic small changes like a change to the rent due date or a small discount for an agreed number of months can make a huge difference.
6. Share details of your tenant’s community support hub All Local Authorities have an online community support hub. Local hubs give contact details where people can register for support. Find your local hub here:
7. Remind yourself of government guidance for landlords and tenants and share this with your tenants The government have published updated guidance for landlords and tenants based on the Coronavirus Act 2020.
Remind yourself of the guidance by clicking here.