Published: 06/01/2021Can we continue to open?
Yes, Estate and Letting Agents can continue to work.
Does this mean we can open our office?
The latest guidance does not make any specific reference to whether an estate/letting agent can open its High Street door. Therefore, the last guidance given, which permits this, would apply. However, I would stress that the key message is to reduce the amount of people you meet. Remember 1 in 3 people can have the virus but without any symptoms. Consider the impact if one person in your office contracted the virus, meaning the rest of the team who had come into contact them would need to self-isolate.
Can we arrange viewings and market appraisals?
Yes, but the first option should always be a virtual appointment.
Where a face-to-face appointment is requested, then this should only be arranged where there is a genuine need for that appointment to take place ‘now’ and a genuine reason why it could not be deferred until after restrictions are eased.
Any face-to-face appointment must be in agreement with all parties (seller and buyer) and should be completed in accordance with your Covid-secure policy at all times.
Can agreed sales continue?
Yes – any sale already agreed can continue to exchange and completion with all parties working Covid-securely. New sales can be agreed and processed in the usual way.
What about lettings check in/check outs?
These can continue, albeit in accordance with your Covid-secure policy.
Can we continue with interim inspections?
Unless there is an urgent requirement to do so, then I would defer any face-to-face interim inspection until restrictions are lifted. Use virtual options such as Facetime/Zoom as an option.
Can contractors still visit rented properties?
Maintenance for health and safety issues can continue. There is specific guidance for ‘working in people’s homes’ which all contractors should be aware of and follow. Where is it a general, non-urgent maintenance issue then see if this can be deferred until restrictions are eased.
Can people travel for appointments from out of local area?
Once again, the key message is to limit travel where possible. However, where there is a genuine need to make the journey - either for work purposes or to facilitate the home moving process - then this is permitted.
Should we update our Sellers/Landlords?
Remember, many people will not be fully clear on what the latest restrictions mean – it may be helpful for you to let them know how you are going to continue to work during the national lockdown. Explain how you are approaching viewings/valuations etc, I’m sure they will appreciate being updated. Stress the importance that by instructing your firm they are instructing a Covid-secure firm – tell them all about the Covid controls you have in place and reassure them and any potential new clients.
This information is supplied by The Guild of Property Professionals
Compliance Officer, Paul Offley, has answered the questions on the minds of agents across England
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