Second Lockdown Updates

On Wednesday 4th November, estate and letting agents received confirmation from the Government that business can continue as before, providing that strict guidelines put in place to minimise the spread of COVID-19 are adhered to and we continue to value the safety and wellbeing of our teams and customers. Find out what this means for you below…

Above all, things will be able to continue as they have been.

But before reading the section below that most applies to you, we encourage all of our customers to consider that some of our staff members may have to unexpectedly self-isolate, which may affect the level of service we provide and is something we cannot really account for.

Whilst we’ll be doing everything we can to mitigate the affect this has and continue as before, we’re just as susceptible as every other business in the UK. So, if you need to get in touch and can’t get through, or we don’t come back to you straight away, please be patient. We will come back to you.

So, the new Regulations specifically state that activities relating to the sector are allowed to continue under Exceptions to leaving home:

to undertake any of the following activities in connection with the purchase, sale, letting or rental of a residential property—

(i) visiting estate or letting agents, developer sales offices or show homes;

(ii) viewing residential properties to look for a property to buy or to rent;

(iii) preparing a residential property to move in;

(iv) moving house;

(v) visiting a residential property to undertake any activities required for the rental or sale of that property;

Below, we’ve broken down into categories what you can and can’t do if you’re thinking of buying, selling, renting or letting a property:

Are you thinking of selling or renting out your property?

The good news is that valuations can still go ahead. So, if you’re thinking of selling your property or considering letting it, you can arrange this with confidence knowing that your safety is of our utmost concern and we’ll be adhering to the following guidelines:

  • All parties to wear facemasks for the duration of the valuation
  • We’ll be sanitising our hands before entering and avoiding where possible touching any hard surfaces.
  • All doors should be left open before the appointment so we don’t have to touch door handles
  • Our customers are advised to stay outside whilst the valuation takes place where possible, or maintaining a distance of at least 2 meters for the duration of the appointment.
  • All hard surfaces should be washed down after the appointment has finished.

Of course, if you have been asked to self-isolate or have shown symptoms of COVID-19 it goes without saying that you should not be arranging for anyone to visit your property.

If this is the case, or if you’d still like a valuation but aren’t comfortable with people visiting your property, we’re more than happy to arrange a video appointment with you.

We’re committed to providing the best possible service and serving our customers in any way we can regardless of the circumstances so if you’d prefer to arrange a video valuation – this should be no problem and we’ll do our best to provide as accurate a valuation we can.

Would you like to arrange a viewing on a property?

Again, viewings can still go ahead providing that these guidelines are adhered to:

  • Firstly, you must be in a position to proceed OR if you need to sell your own property you must at least be on the market. If you have a property to sell and aren’t yet on the market, we’re not able to arrange the viewing for you. Of course, we’d be more than happy to arrange a valuation for you and get your property on the market ASAP so you can commence with viewing other properties.
  • Our viewing appointments will last for no longer than 15 minutes. If you’re late, we cannot extend that viewing time as it will affect other viewing appointments.
  • Viewings are limited to two adults from the same household and no children. If you turn up to a viewing in breach of this, you’ll be refused entry.
  • You’ll need to bring with you a hand sanitiser and use it before entering the property.
  • You’ll need to bring with you a facemask and wear it for the duration of the viewing.
  • During your viewing, you should avoid touching any hard surfaces, including door handles.
  • If our viewer or seller is not able to wait outside for the viewing, you must maintain a minimum distance of two metres for the duration of the viewing.

If you have been asked to self-isolate or have shown symptoms of COVID-19 you should not be arranging viewings on any properties.

Please understand that given the current circumstances, some of our sellers may not feel comfortable at any given time in showing other people around their property. If that’s the case for a property you’re interested in, we’ll keep a record of your interest and be in touch once the property is available to view again.

Do you have a property on the market already?

If you have a property that’s already on the market, you shouldn’t see any changes to what has already been in practice for the last few weeks.

Viewings can still go ahead and our branches are still fully staffed and ready to help. As before, if you’d like to visit your local branch, you’ll need to book an appointment prior as the doors are locked and we’re not able to let people in who have not pre-booked. Just give us a call to arrange this for you.

If you have a viewing taking place on your property, it’s important that you follow the guidelines below. We’d also recommend taking a look at the guidelines for the “would you like to arrange a viewing on a property” section because if your viewers are in breach of these guidelines, they should be refused entry to your property:

  • Doors should be open prior to the viewing to minimise the need for viewers to touch any hard surfaces.
  • If you cannot wait outside the property, you should seek to maintain a minimum distance of 2 meters for the duration of the viewing.
  • A facemask should be worn at all times whilst the viewing takes place.
  • Hard surfaces should be wiped down once the viewing has finished.

If you’ve been asked to self-isolate or have shown symptoms of COVID-19 please let your branch know so we can pause arranging viewings and keep records of any buyers that have shown an interest.

Similarly, if you do not feel comfortable with arranging viewings, please get in touch with your branch so that we can keep records of prospective buyers that have requested a viewing. We won’t be putting any of our customers under undue pressure to arrange viewings if they don’t feel comfortable in doing so.

Do you have a sale or purchase that’s already agreed?

It seems that all businesses supporting the property sector have been given the go-ahead to continue as they were, adhering to strict safety guidelines.

However, as we will be, they will all be susceptible to staff shortages and increased timescales as a result of people having to unexpectedly self-isolate.

Both of our conveyancing partners, Flints and Simpson Jones, have confirmed that they will be continuing to work from the office and have no plans to furlough any of the team members that will be working on Hannells cases.

However, for other services that are involved in a property transaction such as searches, surveys, mortgage application approvals etc. we have already seen increasingly delayed turnaround times for these since returning from the first lockdown, so we would expect that this trend continues for the foreseeable future.

As frustrating as this is, there is nothing we can do to affect these and unfortunately, it’s a waiting game for lots of these parts of the process.

Are you a Landlord with a managed property?

If you have a managed property, you should see things continue as normal.

Inspections can still go ahead and there’s no change to how we go about dealing with maintenance and repair requests.

However, we expect that these things could take longer to arrange and some of our tenants may not be comfortable with other people visiting their property which we will have to respect.

Given the nature of this second lockdown, we don’t anticipate there being many cases of unpaid rent or requests for a reduction in rent if your tenant has been paying promptly up to now.

However, if this does happen we’ll be in touch before making any decisions to talk the situation through with you and work out a plan moving forwards that works for all parties involved.

Are you a tenant that’s in a fully managed property?

If you’re a tenant that’s renting a property which is fully managed by Hannells, you shouldn’t notice much change – other than the time that it may take to arrange appointments and contractor visits.

Inspections can still go ahead and we’ll be treating your safety with the utmost of importance by following these guidelines:

  • Wearing a facemask for the duration of the appointment
  • Sanitising before entering the property
  • Avoiding touching hard surfaces
  • Where possible maintaining a minimum distanced of 2 meters.

If you have any maintenance or repair requests, please continue to log these as before through our online tenant care centre which you can find by clicking HERE.

Should there be any changes to the above, we’ll be updating this page on a regular basis and if you have any concerns or questions, please feel free to get in touch with your local branch of Hannells.

From the whole team here, thank you for your patience and understanding. We have no plans to furlough any of the team here and will continue to do whatever we can to deliver the service that we are so well known for.

We wish you and your family the best of health.

Stay safe!

Hannells – A Moving Experience…

 

 

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