With England about to enter another lockdown period from Thursday 5 November, agents across the country are wondering how the restrictions will affect them and what they should do to protect their businesses.
According to a tweet from housing secretary Robert Jenrick, the housing market will remain open throughout lockdown. This means:
- Renters and homeowners will be able to move
- Removal firms and estate agents can operate
- Construction sites can continue
- Tradespeople will be able to enter homes
This is all while following relevant social distancing restrictions. The government has also confirmed that estate and letting branches can remain open. Here are our tips for remaining Covid-secure in your operations during lockdown:
Agree remote working procedures
The Government is once again encouraging working from home where possible. As estate agents had to close during the last lockdown, you should be used to having staff work from home already, but even so: double-check your remote working procedures to ensure your employees can remain productive outside of the office. Have plans for maintaining consistent levels of communication and facilitating collaboration.
Arrange house viewings following guidelines
As per guidance, house viewings can continue, but all involved should wear masks, and the owner or landlord should not be present. Offer clients the option of virtual viewings if they would prefer. All clients should be asked beforehand if they are showing any symptoms of coronavirus. All parties should wash their hands with soap and water (or hand sanitiser) before the viewing begins.
Allow maintenance works
Tradespeople such as electricians and plumbers can enter homes as required as long as they social distance and wear masks unless an occupant is self-isolating or has a confirmed case of COVID-19.
You should prioritise emergency and essential repairs and advise occupants that non-essential work may be delayed.
Prepare for sudden changes
Expect delays and postponements depending on Government guidance and the health of occupants and staff. Be prepared for sudden staff absence in the event employees have to self-isolate or show symptoms. Have another staff member prepared to do the most important parts of their role if necessary.