The government has instigated coronavirus (COVID-19) regulations to make clear that people who wish to move home can do so. Whilst the housing market is to remain open, we will be operating under these restrictions and is important that everyone knows how to stay alert, contain the virus and save lives*
Our operational guidelines, in light of the forthcoming National Lockdown, have been revised, read on for full details . . .
Moving home is not appropriate whilst you pose a direct risk of transmitting coronavirus. People who have coronavirus or are self-isolating with their family members should not leave their home to either move home or undertake property viewings. We would also ask anyone with possible symptoms, or anyone who has been in contact with someone who has possible symptoms, to stay home and wait until they are no longer a potential risk.
Office Visits - We are being asked to discourage visits to our office but where these are necessary, we are operating on an Appointment Only basis.
Home Visits – We are still carrying out market appraisals, however, during the November lockdown we will be restricting appointments to those ready to market their homes this year. If you are not yet ready, we would recommend waiting until after the lockdown is lifted but would be happy to pre-book an appointment for you.
Viewings - Physical viewings should only be conducted where buyers are serious and considering making an offer on a property. People should view the property from the outside and use virtual viewing, where possible, before visiting properties in person.
All viewings should take place by appointment and only involve members of a single household. Estate Agents can no longer offer any transportation and the use of public transport should be limited.
We will ask all viewers to wear face coverings and gloves whilst inside a property and maintain a 2 metre social distance.
If your property is being viewed, you should open all the internal doors prior to the viewing.
Government advice is to vacate your property whilst viewings are taking place in order to minimise your contact with those not in your household. We appreciate this is not always appropriate and would therefore suggest face coverings are worn by all and carefully maintaining the necessary 2 metre social distance. Ideally family members should leave the property and one person should conduct the viewing.
We will restrict the number of people who attend for a viewing so that social distancing can be practised, and only those from within one household should be there. We would ask for a maximum of 2 people to view at any one time and would respectfully ask that children are not brought along, as it is hard to monitor their activity during viewings.
We will ask for viewings to be limited to a maximum of 15 minutes and for discussions to be kept as brief as possible and ideally held outdoors.
We will not be able to accompany viewers in any occupied properties, as this would mean a mix of more than 2 households.
We will contact all viewers post viewing in order to answer any questions they may have and pick up discussions in more detail.
Once the viewing has taken place, the homeowner or occupant should ensure surfaces, such as door handles, are cleaned with standard household cleaning products and towels disposed of safely or washed as appropriate.
Rented Properties - Tenants’ safety is our first priority. The government has put in place protections for tenants during the coronavirus outbreak, including legislation to delay when landlords are able to start proceedings to evict tenants. Viewings and visits should not go ahead in properties where tenants are symptomatic or self-isolating.
Regular inspections, routine checks, visits for repairs and maintenance can still go ahead, subject to 24 hours notice being given to tenants and the necessary precautions being taken.
Post Sale - Prospective purchasers may wish to visit a property again once they have agreed a sale, for example to measure up. Where this has been agreed, the above advice on hygiene measures and maintaining social distancing should be followed.
Purchasers may also want to send in tradespeople to carry out inspections. Where possible these should be scheduled with one person visiting the property at any time. No tradespeople should enter a property where a member of the household is showing symptoms of coronavirus or self-isolating. Where a tradesperson is visiting the property, the occupier should maintain social distancing, wash their hands regularly and minimise contact as far as possible, for example by staying in another room. These visits should be carried out in line with government safer working guidance.*
If your home is being surveyed, you should ensure the surveyor has access to all the parts of the property they need to inspect, and make efforts to minimise contact with the surveyor, for example by staying in another room whilst they are inspecting your home.
Your legal adviser should be able to help you to ensure that any contract you enter into has sufficient flexibility to allow the purchase to be delayed in the event that an individual in one of the parties contracts coronavirus or has to self-isolate.
Removal firms are able to operate, although they may need to adjust usual procedures in order to ensure moves happen as safely as possible. We advise you contact them as soon as possible to secure your arrangements.
In light of these restrictions, we will be asking more questions before booking appointments and there may be delays as appointments are staggered and carefully timed. Please do bear with us, we are looking after your safety and ours.
V3. Revised November 2020