Agents should check where buyers and sellers have been on holiday as part of their approach to safety during the Coronavirus period.
That’s the view of the compliance chief at the Guild of Property Professionals.
Paul Offley says that when agents go through their health checklist and ask clients, buyers and tenants Covid-19 related questions, they will need to ask whether the person has recently returned from one of the countries not on the UK ‘exception list’.
“The list of countries is updated daily, and it is easy for agents to access the information to ensure they know which countries they need to be aware of" says Offley.
The UK government already advises nationals against all but essential international travel, mentioning countries Spain, Belgium, Andorra and The Bahamas in particular.
Any British holidaymakers who have already landed in these countries will be required to self-isolate for 14 days on their return to the UK.
It is thought likely that France could be the next country to be added to the list in the near future.
Offley says if a customer has returned from one of the countries flagged, it doesn’t mean agents cannot deal with them but that all interaction should be virtual until after the 14 days.
“The same applies in the instance of a regional lockdown. Agents should stop face-to-face contact immediately and revert to virtual interaction with clients, buyers and tenants” Offley advises.
He continues that if an estate or lettings agent has a staff member that has returned from one of the above-mentioned countries, they should be made to work at home.
“Agents should be aware of where their staff members are travelling to on holiday to ensure the appropriate procedures are followed on their return to ensure the safety of both other staff members and, of course, the public who visit the office” adds Offley.
“Until Covid-19 is completely eradicated, agents need to ensure that they have the tools and procedures to revert to working from home and conducting business virtually, whether that be due to travel-related self-isolation or a possible regional lockdown. The key is to be ready and have a plan in place should your business need to switch from physical appointments to virtual ones” Offley concludes.