H J Burt are here to help you move
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has updated its guidance document setting out general advice and information for the housing industry and those moving home in accordance with the latest national lockdown announced.
Given that the housing market in England will remain open during this national lockdown, estate and letting agents, along with removers, valuers and people in sales and lettings offices and show homes will be able to continue working, but what do they need to know?
Q & A
Are your offices open?
Our offices are open but only for pre-booked appointments or urgent enquiries.
- Please wear a facemask or face covering
- Some of our staff members are working from home and we appreciate your patience at this time
Can I view a property?
Yes of course (subject to individual property/client position). However prior to any viewing, we need to outline certain key points in order to protect your health, the health of our staff members and the owners or occupiers of the property.
- In the first instance please ensure you have viewed the virtual tour (where applicable).
- Please be kind enough to confirm before any viewing if any of the information below relates to you in terms of health matters (or contact with others potentially so affected), or where you are not able to comply with the requirements regarding the viewing process. These questions apply to EVERYONE in your household:
- You are not currently suffering from Covid 19.
- To the best of your knowledge, you have not been in contact with anyone with, or showing symptoms of the disease, within the last seven days.
- You do not currently have a cough, fever or shortness of breath, nor are showing any other symptoms of the disease.
- You can travel to the property without taking public transport, or taking a lift from a person from another household.
- You will supply and wear your own gloves and a protective facemask when inside the property being viewed.
- You will please refrain from touching door handles, or any surfaces within the property.
- Whilst Government direction states a minimum of 1m social distancing as from 4th July 2020 onwards, we would still ask you to respect and endeavour to maintain a minimum 2m social distancing as far as practical during the viewing.
- Where possible we ask that no children attend the viewing, but if you need to bring them we ask that we take each adult around the property individually, whilst the other parent waits outside with the children.
- We have been asked not to linger at properties longer than necessary, so would ask that you complete your inspection as swiftly as practicable and, where possible, to conduct further communications outside the dwelling itself.
- It would be generally expected that you are in position to proceed with the purchase or rental of the property, should you wish to do so, following your viewing and appropriate due diligence.
Can I still move?
- We will endeavour to do what we can to promote flexibility when arranging move dates, for example advising clients to ensure contracts have explicit terms to manage the timing risks presented by coronavirus. We will work with our clients and other agents to broker a new date to move where sales are due to complete and one of the parties falls ill with coronavirus or has to self-isolate.
We will ensure that any keys are appropriately cleaned before handover.
We will ascertain whether buyers have returned to the UK from one of the countries not on the exception list. If clients have returned from a country on the quarantine list, we can continue to progress their home move virtually until the quarantine period is over.
What should I do if I am letting/renting a property?
Both H J Burt and our Landlords are aware of and follow the government guidance on coronavirus and renting which contains further advice that may also be applicable such as on possession proceedings, repairs, maintenance and health and safety. Tenants will also be made aware of this guidance.
Tenants’ safety should be ours’ and landlords’ 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 by requiring landlords to give tenants longer notice periods than usual.
- Viewings: Landlords and letting agents should not conduct viewings in properties where tenants are symptomatic or self-isolating. Any visits to a property must be made in accordance with government’s guidelines on working in other people’s homes and social distancing.
- Repairs and inspections: If possible, necessary repairs, gas and electrical safety checks should be conducted in the period between a property being vacated and a new tenant moving in. If this is not possible and visits are needed to an occupied property, this should be done by appointment with measures put in place to ensure physical contact is minimised, for example with residents staying in another room during the visit. We may also want to consider obtaining landlord and tenant consent for inventory clerk appointments to also occur before a tenant moves in or after a tenant moves out during vacant periods if possible.
- Moving in: Both H J Burt and our landlords will take steps to ensure any properties are prepared ready for new tenants. This may include cleaning to minimise any potential spread of the coronavirus in line with government advice.
H J Burt and our landlords should consider how best to conduct tenancy check-ins for new tenancies agreed, taking care to follow government advice on social distancing and public health advice to minimise the possible spread of coronavirus.
Both H J Burt and our landlords are aware of the temporary COVID-19 measures that adjust right to rent checks, temporarily allowing these checks to be conducted remotely. We will consider other areas where in-person payments, referencing or checks can be conducted remotely instead and take further legal or professional advice if required to implement properly.
6th January 2021