Wed 13 May 2020
Last night the property industry received the news that estate and letting agency businesses can re-open the doors and resume business today. Over the last few weeks, there has been a huge amount of change in our everyday life. The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, laid out his plan on Sunday as to what life might start to look like as the virus is brought under further control and restrictions can begin to ease, and what is clear, is that we all need to be ready to adapt going forward – so we had already started preparing, potentially for re-opening in June, so it was rather a surprise to hear last night’s news!
Unless a property is vacant, landlords will have to work with tenants to ensure that all surfaces are disinfected, and all doors are open before a viewing takes place to avoid cross-contamination via touching surfaces. Door handles and locks must be disinfected before and after viewing appointments.
It is advised that people keep their hands in their pockets and do not touch surfaces wherever possible. If they need to do this, ensure the surface is cleaned with a disinfectant before and afterward.
These must be provided with soap and water or sanitiser and clean towels or paper towels, which must then be disposed of in a closed bin.
If the space for the viewing is small, it is advised that everyone wears a mask across their nose and mouth, this does not need to be medical grade. For more information, click here.
The Government advice on property viewings is thus:
- Initial viewings should be done virtually wherever this is possible and property agents should help you to do this.
- All physical viewings should be limited to members of the same household and open house viewings should not take place.
- When physically viewing properties, where possible, you should avoid touching surfaces, wash your hands regularly, and bring your own hand sanitiser. The number of people on a viewing should be minimised to those from your household that absolutely have to be there. If you need to be accompanied by small children, you should try to keep them from touching surfaces and ensure they wash their hands regularly.
- If people are being shown around your current home, you should open all internal doors and ensure surfaces, such as door handles, are cleaned after each viewing with standard household cleaning products.
- As most people choose to, we recommend that you vacate your property whilst viewings are taking place in order to minimise your contact with those not in your household.
- Anyone involved in any aspect of the home moving process should practice social distancing in line with public health advice.
- When moving between properties, you and those in your household should try to do as much of the packing yourself as you can. Where this is not possible, you should speak to removal firms in advance. There is further advice about this below.
- If you are particularly worried about the risk of infection, then speak to the professionals involved, your landlord, estate agent or removers as they may be able to put in place extra measures.
Rules on removals
Removal firms are also now able to operate, although they may need to adjust usual procedures in order to ensure moves happen as safely as possible.
- You are encouraged to contact removal firms as early as possible in advance of your move.
- You and your household should also try and do as much of the packing yourself as possible. However, where this is not possible, you should speak to your removal firms in advance.
- Where possible, you clean your belongings, with standard domestic cleaning products before they are handled by others, including removal firms.
- Whilst the removers are in your home, you should ensure any internal doors are open and seek to minimise your contact with the crew, maintaining a distance of at least 2 metres where possible.
- All parties should wash their hands and avoid touching surfaces where possible to reduce the risk of transmitting the coronavirus.
- You should not provide refreshments but you should ensure they have access to handwashing facilities, using separate towels or paper towels if possible, which should be washed or disposed of safely afterward.
An ever-changing landscape
As mentioned previously, this is all subject to change – but it’s the sort of measures being considered currently. We’re keeping on top of the news though, so as and when things change or become clearer, we will of course provide further updates.
If you have any concerns or questions, please don’t sit and worry. Get in touch – we’re here to help.