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Should agents scrap viewings in Tier 4 areas? This one has...

An agency operating in the new Tier 4 area has abandoned viewings and visits to homes until New Year, even though the restrictions allow them to go ahead.

Harrisons Homes is based at Sittingbourne in Kent, one of the areas of the UK at the heart of the new Coronavirus strain and also one of the areas with the highest infection rate.

“How can I say to my team that they cannot see their family over Christmas, yet they can take people out on viewings?” asks Chris Ellis, managing director of Harrisons Homes.


The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government makes it clear that agency work can continue in Tier 4.

The department’s official guidance says: “You can still move home. People outside your household or support bubble should not help with moving house unless absolutely necessary.  Estate and letting agents and removals firms can continue to work.”

But Harrison Homes says these are uncertain times for the property industry and  agents have to make difficult decisions about how to run their businesses.

Ellis continues: “In the last couple of days, we have launched a complete rebrand of our business to reflect the type of business we are - transparent, honest, innovative and part of our local community.  With this in mind, we had to really ask ourselves if continuing to go to appointments during Tier 4 is safe or fair.  

“How can I say to my team that they cannot see their family over Christmas, yet they can take people out on viewings?”

“Therefore, we have taken the decision to suspend appointments until 2021, this gives us a chance to review our Covid policy and ensure that we can keep our staff and clients as safe as possible. Other than essential office appointments, we will continue to operate as usual, albeit from home”

Over the weekend, when Tier 4 was introduced to much of south east and eastern England as well as London, the Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said on Twitter: “Housing market update: the sales and rental markets remain open in all tiers. All associated activities can continue as before.”

But he added: “Please follow the Covid-secure guidance. And use your judgment as to whether it’s necessary right now.”

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    Was you not all of that before you rebranded then?!

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    I’ve shut down viewings now until New Year but will still take calls etc. I’m sure many other firms taken same decision. Still personally shocked we can continue working when most other business shut down. Makes you feel like a cash cow. Feel bad to “complain” when so many others want to work but I also want my high risk wife to stay alive!

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    Whilst I understand the predicament the difference between spending hours in a room with loved ones on Christmas Day, eating & drinking, V’s a maximum of 10 minutes in a ventilated house whilst wearing face masks, gloves & shoe covers is not comparable. Viewings are done with 1 other person, not entire family groups. Stating that you need to take the time off to look at your own policies would suggest that you have not been following the guidelines for our industry which are, in my opinion, extremely stringent. When conducting viewings we are in charge of the situation and I can confidently say that I feel safer taking clients on viewings than I do when I go shopping.


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