If you rent house shares to singles, students or young professionals, what advice are you offering them about dealing with coronavirus?

This is an old news article from March 2020 and is now likely out of date. Please visit our Coronavirus Hub for up to date information and links.

See the official guidance here but in summary for shared homes, the following applies:

  • if you live with others and you are the first in the household to have symptoms of coronavirus, then you must stay at home for 7 days, but all other household members who remain well must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill.
  • for anyone else in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14 day isolation period.
  • it is likely that people living within a household will infect each other or be infected already. Staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community
  • when cleaning you should use your usual household products, like detergents and bleach, as these will be very effective at getting rid of the virus on surfaces. Clean frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, handrails, remote controls and table tops. This is particularly important if you have an older or vulnerable person in the house
  • personal waste (such as used tissues) and disposable cleaning cloths can be stored securely within disposable rubbish bags. These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste. This should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in your usual external household waste bin

The epidemic is raging across the world, with more than 300 cases and three deaths reported in the UK already at the time of writing.

Currently, neither Public Health England nor the Department of Health have issued instructions to landlords, but this is a fast-changing scenario and needs active monitoring.

For house share landlords, it’s probably good practise to implement basic hygiene guidance for tenants.

Public Health England has published the following advice:

Returning travellers

Stay indoors and avoid contact with other people if you’ve travelled to the UK from the following places in the last 14 days, even if you do not have symptoms:

  • Iran
  • Hubei province in China
  • Special care zones in South Korea (Daegu, Cheongdo, Gyeongsan)

Stay indoors and avoid contact with other people if you’ve travelled to the UK from the following places, even if you do not have symptoms:

  • Italy (since 09 March)

Stay indoors and avoid contact with other people if you’ve travelled to the UK from the following places in the last 14 days and have a cough, high temperature or shortness of breath, even if your symptoms are mild:

  • mainland China outside of Hubei province
  • South Korea outside of the special care zones
  • Cambodia
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • Laos
  • Macau
  • Malaysia
  • Myanmar
  • Singapore
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam

Sharing a bathroom

If a self-isolated renter shares a loo, then set up a rota so that self-isolated person uses the bathroom last for washing. They should not use towels anyone else uses and should the clean the bathroom thoroughly before leaving.

Sharing a kitchen

The self-isolated person should wear a face mask, use the kitchen after everyone else and take their food back to their room. The best way to wash up is with a dishwasher. Crockery should not be shared.

Who’s infected?

The good news is the risk of exposure and suffering a serious bout of coronavirus seems less for the under 25s than for the older population, with the elderly especially vulnerable.

Only 8% of reported cases in China were aged between 20 and 30 years old, according to the World Health Organisation.