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Justmeac

CORONAVIRUS IN SHARED HOUSES-flatmate working with public

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Please excuse me if this is not the right forum.

I live in a shared house with 2 other people. We have 11 kitchen, 1 bathroom, 1 living room and 3 rooms.

Two of us are working from home. The other one was not working and is staring a new job as support social worker, where she will be going to homes of individuals with learning disabilities and assisting them with everyday life. Cooking, shopping etc.

I have discussed with her previously that if she takes a job facing public or in contact with other people, I would ask for some precautions in the house as well (i.e, not being in the same room at the same time), but she has said that she will be bored and she does not want to be isolated herself. (yes very empathetic)

I would like to know whether there are any specific guidance on this and how much responsibilities do landlords have in this? Just to clarify I did rent a room that was advertised, we did not rent the house together.

If she refuses to keep the distance from other members of the house, is there anything to protect me? I am not leaving the house, except once a week to do shopping. I understand people need to work, but if there is an individual in contact with other people shouldn't they be keeping the distance with others in the house? That would definitely put me at risk and it is quite concerning.

Can anyone provide any light please?? I am quite stressed about this.

 

Many thanks in advance!!

 

LP

 

 

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There was an item about this on the BBC Radio 4 consumer programme 'You and Yours' recently.  You can listen to it here, it starts at 10:02 and runs to 17:50.

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000h25x

 

In principle the landlord has some responsibility but there seems to be no legal duty of care that a local council can enforce. In practice there's not much the Landlord can realistically do although you could ask for the Landlord to provide antiseptic sprays for cleaning the common areas and  antiseptic hand gels. There seems to be no way (according to this programme) that the Landlord can direct a tenant to isolate themselves and not to use common areas. The residents in an HMO are one 'household' for the purposes of self-isolation etc and essentially it seems that you need to sort it out between yourselves.

 

At the moment the person with the job outside the house doesn't have have any symptoms herself nor been in contact with anyone else who has had symptoms or been diagnosed with Covid-19 so she wouldn't be expected to self-isolate under government guidance. If she did require to self-isolate that could be different, but I don't think you or the landlord could order her to stay in her room just because she works outside the house as a key worker and you don't.

 

A daily cleaning routine with disinfectant for all common areas and anything you all touch - front door, light switches etc etc - is something  I'd be seeking to get you all to agree on. Do you already have a rota for use of the kitchen so that only one of you cooks in there at a time?  If not maybe that's something to agree. 

 

I understand your concern but it's simply not possible to eliminate all risks in an HMO.

 

I hope that between the three of you that you can find a reasonable compromise. 

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