Covid-19 – FAQ for homeowners

The coronavirus pandemic has been a testing time for us all. Britain has now entered a second lockdown, meaning all attention will once again be on staying indoors. As a homeowner, it can be confusing to know what is and isn’t allowed. 

To make things easier to understand, we’ve answered the top frequently asked questions regarding homeownership and Covid-19 to guide you. 

Can I move house during lockdown? 

Yes, although people from outside your household or support bubble can not help you to move house unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Estate agents, letting firms and removal companies can continue to work. This includes conducting property viewings, though everyone will be required to wear a mask and social distance when doing so. 

Can I still claim for a mortgage holiday?

Yes. The scheme was due to come to an end in October 2020 but has now been extended for up to 6 months. You can claim if you are otherwise up to date on your mortgage, and have concerns about paying it due to being financially affected by Covid-19. 

Buy-to-let landlords are also eligible to claim, with the expectation that they will pass the payment break onto their tenants. The deadline for applying for a mortgage holiday is January 31, 2021, at the time of writing.

Am I eligible for tax relief while working from home?

Yes. If you’re an employee who has worked from home for at least one day since April 6th, you can claim tax relief. The value is up to £125, so is well worth applying for if you qualify. 

Do landlords still need to arrange repairs for tenants during lockdown?

Yes. The landlord is still responsible for maintaining the property, throughout lockdown and Covid-19 in general. Though the government has advised that repairs should only be carried out if they are urgent or if there is a safety risk while in lockdown. If repairs are required and the landlord needs to enter the property, it is advised the tenants stay in another room to avoid any contact. 

I can’t stay at my main residence during lockdown. What should I do?

During lockdown, the government has stated homeowners can stay elsewhere overnight if there is a legitimate reason why they cannot stay at their main residence. 

Otherwise, people are not permitted to stay in second homes, caravans, hotels or with friends or family. 

Outside of lockdown, you should follow the local advice as each area of the UK may have different restrictions. 

Can I have a cleaner in my house during lockdown?

Cleaning counts as a job that cannot be done remotely, and the government has stated that cleaners can continue to work as normal during the second lockdown. 

If you have a cleaner visit your home during the pandemic, it’s advised you social distance and that they wear a mask. 

To sum up

Above is a list of some of the FAQ for homeowners during Covid-19. As always, we suggest consulting the latest government advice on matters relating to homeownership, work and travel as the information is subject to change.

Ask the Expert: How to protect your home from mice and other winter pests

Unfortunately, we aren’t the only mammals who like to cosy up warm indoors during the winter months.

When the weather starts to turn, pests of all shapes and sizes venture inside to seek refuge from the elements – and unless you want to end up sharing your home with them later in the year, now is the time to act.

So we spoke to one of our top pest control experts – Josh Simpson from King Pest Control – to discover what you can do today to keep your home free from pests this winter.

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Watch out for mice and rats this winter

“Rodents are the main issue in colder months, as insect activity reduces at a rapid rate,” says Josh. “Mice are pushed in due to the harsh weather conditions outside, but they will be found all year round once present.”

It’s not just the cold that drives animals indoors in winter, either. Josh says that snow and heavy downpours can also cause flooding and force even the largest rodents to abandon their usual homes.

“Rat infestations, nine times out of 10, tend to come from drainage faults,” he explains. “We see a surge of rat jobs after heavy rain due to the rats being pushed out of drains for safe harbourage.”

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Block entry points to keep the rodents at bay

The key to keeping your house rodent-free is to find and block all holes they might use to enter your home – such as cracks in doors and windows, and any openings caused by recent plumbing or electrical works.

But, because many rodents can flatten their out skeletons to fit through even the tiniest gaps, it takes an experienced eye to survey a property and identify all possible access points.

“Mice are capable of gaining access through holes as little as 5mm,” Josh explains. “So we advise you to always get a professional to step in and block the holes.”

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What to do if you spot an “unwanted visitor”

If you do discover signs of unwanted guests, it can be tempting to try and deal with them using ‘over the counter’ traps. But, Josh warns that attempting to resolve the problem by yourself can have unintended consequences.

“Contact professionals immediately,” he advises. “Mice and rats are dangerous animals and a risk to health due to the diseases they carry.”

“Dealing with infestations can be dangerous to non-target species if poison or traps are not laid in a correct way,” he adds. “Poisoning or trapping certain species of mammal can land you in prison, so it’s always best to leave it to someone who knows what they are doing.”

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The easy way to keep your home pest-free this winter

With thousands of registered pest control experts throughout the UK, protecting your home against pests like mice and rats is easy with Bark.

“The most rewarding thing about my job is our ability to help people when they are in desperate need of help,” says Josh. “Also, being able to solve problems which other pest controllers can’t fix is very rewarding.”

Place your Bark today and we’ll do all the legwork to get you quotes from recommended local pest controllers like King Pest Control fast and free.

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Four things to consider when hiring a house cleaner

It’s probably fair to say that people who enjoy cleaning – whether that’s the morning after an eventful party or simply the regular upkeep of your house – are in the minority. So for many, having a professional do the job for you is a godsend. But it’s not always as straightforward as it may seem, so to help you make an informed decision first time round, we’ve included Bark’s top tips for hiring a cleaner below.

Rubber gloves at the ready!
Rubber gloves at the ready!


Unlike hiring a plumber or hiring an electrician, who are generally brought in for one-off jobs, the majority of people looking for cleaners will want a regular service. This means it’s likely your cleaner will spend a large proportion of time alone in your home, making trust imperative. While initial contact may well take place online, don’t be afraid to ask for a face-to-face meeting to get a better feel for them.

Everyone’s favourite task!


So the meeting with the person you’re interested in hiring goes really well – but don’t take their word for the quality of the work they do. It’s important to seek out endorsements and recommendations from third party sources. Look particularly for testimonials on channels that aren’t run or owned by the cleaner – such as directories, listings, and – to get the best, impartial insight in to their standards.


Is your cleaner being vague about their fees? Then your ‘spidey senses’ should be tingling! Cleaning, as a service is largely charged by the hour and tends not to differ immensely from building to building, apart from if you’re looking for more complicated packages such as a deep clean, additional ironing services or for your cleaner to bring their own equipment. An upfront answer should therefore not be hard to come by.

Leave the equipment to the pros...
Leave the equipment to the pros…

Trial run

You may get on with your cleaner well; they may be both local and affordable but if they don’t clean your house effectively, then what’s the point? Inviting professionals for a trial session is commonplace and will help you when making your final decision. At the same time, you’ll be able to show them where things are tidied and allows time for any questions.

There’s plenty more info in our cleaning checklist. And for more tips and insights, why not check out our other blogs?