Surviving in a shared house during lockdown

    • Surviving in a shared house during lockdown

      By Simon – Crenns Properties Ltd, specialising in providing rooms for short to medium term rental in London.

      Whilst the sun is shining outside we are all having to stay inside! The Covid-19 lockdown is a unique situation we find ourselves in. Living in a shared house with other people is great since you can still have contact with other people (being aware of distancing rules), but at the same time, you do still need to be careful to maintain your health. There are some tips below to help alleviate the boredom and to look after your health.

      As landlords ourselves we are very aware of trying to keep our tenants healthy. We have sent out advice to our tenants and also implemented some new procedures for our staff. We are still able to rent rooms (as the majority of the process can be completed electronically) so if you have any concerns in your current house please get in touch and we’ll see if we can help out.

      Keep everything clean

      The main method of infection of Covid-19 is through indirect contact: your housemate comes back from work on the tube and touches the handrail. When coming back they quickly pop to the kitchen to get some water; suddenly the kitchen door, the cupboard with glasses in, the glass and the tap have the virus on them! The first thing everyone in your house should do when getting back in is to take their shoes off and wash their hands. You would be surprised how long a proper hand wash takes – 20 seconds. Try counting next time to see just how long that is! By keeping yourself clean and also cleaning communal areas after you use them and (ideally) every day, you will decrease the risk to yourself and your housemates of catching the virus.

      Interact with someone

      Being stuck in the house with nothing in particular to do can become boring which can make you less happy. Having a house of unhappy flatmates is not too enjoyable, so make sure you are doing things to keep you entertained and your mind working. One great way of doing this is simply by talking. The beauty of living in a shared house is you have a group of people right there that you are allowed to socialise with! Each take control of the entertainment for a night, whether it is an online pub quiz, cocktail night, cooking a meal together or doing some exercise as a group. Make the most of living in a shared house! All our houses are shared houses so if you would be interested in a room, then check out our website Our tenants tend to know people in our other shared houses in the area so complete against another house via Zoom to find out once and for all which the best house is.

      What your landlord should be doing

      Whilst house visits should be reduced, there are certain things a landlord must, and should, be doing to help you out. We have a cleaner who cleans the communal areas of each of our houses at least once a week. Whilst this is carrying on, as it helps remove the virus by cleaning regularly, our cleaner has been given guidance on minimising the risk of bringing the virus into the house (such as shoe covers, wearing gloves and a mask and washing her hands as soon as she enters a house).

      Some maintenance tasks should be delayed where suitable, especially if it involves going into someone’s room. This helps protect the tenants in the house and also the builder. If there is an emergency repair (critical issues that could pose an immediate risk) this must still be dealt with by the landlord. Our in-house maintenance team is still working on problems at our houses, but again our builder has been giving guidance on minimising the risk of virus transfer. Certain routine maintenance tasks also still need to be completed such as the annual Gas Safety Check on the boiler and gas appliances.

      How can you help

      Do not leave home if you or someone you live with has either a high temperature or a new, continuous cough. Check the NHS website if you have symptoms.

      If you develop Covid-19 symptoms the best thing to do is to self-isolate in your room as much as possible. Let the others in the house know the situation and work out a rotation for when you can use the shared spaces on your own, remembering to clean them thoroughly after use. If you have people visiting the house (such as cleaners) you should let them know as you should minimise/stop the people who come in. External contractors may ask certain questions before coming in to make sure it is safe.

      If you have one or both of the signs of coronavirus you should stay at home for 7 days. The signs are a high temperature and a new prolonged cough.

      For the others in the house, you should stay at home for 14 days. If you then start having symptoms, you should stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms start, as above. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill (more information here).

      Try to allocate 1 bathroom to anyone with symptoms and the other bathroom is used by others.

      Assign a time for anyone with symptoms to use the kitchen/lounge. Others should not visit the areas at this time until they have been cleaned and the person has left. Any communal areas should be regularly cleaned, especially after someone with symptoms has been there; usual household cleaning products can be used. More guidance on cleaning can be found here.

      How to find out more

      Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions about the above however if your question is legal/medically related you should speak to the appropriate organisation. Please look at the government’s website for the latest information on Covid-19. It has a huge amount of information including protecting yourself, health and wellbeing, testing and offering help.

      Stay at home and stay safe so we can all enjoy the summer.