Usually living under one roof with a diverse mix of different people is the very crux of a house share but during the pandemic, mingling with others from outside of your family becomes a very different proposition. It’s only natural to feel a sense of caution but by following official advice, it is possible to minimize risks for everyone involved. Here’s our advice for a safe house share:-
Treat a house share as a single household
Everyone at the same address now becomes a single household, whether they are related or not. Any who develops Covid-19 symptoms should follow the Government’s official isolation advice, as should everyone in the house share so they limit the spread. In summary, the first person who develops any Covid-19 symptoms or tests positive should isolate for 7 days, with everyone else in the property isolating at home for 14 days - even if they feel well and are symptom free. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill. This chart clearly explains isolation in a shared house setting.
Managing isolation in a shared house
Households who are isolating or renters who are shielding should minimize the amount of time they spend in shared areas, such as living rooms, bathrooms and kitchens. This can be managed by drawing up a rota of who uses spaces when; designating set food prep areas for each renter and taking meals to bedrooms to eat. Anyone with symptoms should also have a dedicated bathroom only they use, or be the last to use a single bathroom during their isolation period.
It’s advisable for each renter to have their own set of cutlery and crockery that they wash in a dishwasher, as well as towels and bed linen they don’t share. Still keep 2 metres apart – even within the property - and avoiding touches surfaces as much as possible. Cleaning using a bleach or antibacterial solution should be performed frequently, paying attention to handles, light switches and other shares touch points, and all areas should be kept well ventilated.
Know when it’s essential to permit access
Although all non-essential contact should be avoided, landlords have a duty of care when it comes to the safety and wellbeing of their tenants. If everyone in the house share is symptom free, access should be granted for maintenance emergencies and for a legally-required checks, including electrical and gas safety tests.
Essential visits, however, should be rescheduled if anyone inside is displaying Covid-19 symptoms or has tested positive in the last 7 days. Emergency maintenance visits to those who are shielding may take place if the renter agrees, although they should ‘micro-isolate’ by confining themselves to a room the contractor will not need to access. Any contractor or engineer in attendance should follow social distancing and hygiene advice, using a mask, gloves and hand sanitizer.