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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Agents CAN continue working through national lockdown

Agents and the housing market in England are still in business even during the third national lockdown which begins on Wednesday and will last until mid-February at least.

The government’s official guidance for England says that agents, as with all other workers, are advised to work from home wherever possible. But specifically it adds:

You can still move home. People outside your household or support bubble should not help with moving house unless absolutely necessary.

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Estate and letting agents and removals firms can continue to work. If you are looking to move, you can go to property viewings.

Follow the national guidance on moving home safely, which includes advice on social distancing, letting fresh air in, and wearing a face covering.

The lockdown is scheduled to end in mid-February, and resembles the March/April 2020 lockdown in terms of the closure of most other services around the country.

And Mark Hayward - Propertymark’s chief advisor - says: “We welcome the news that the housing market is to remain open throughout this new lockdown period, but it is essential that all agents continue to play their part in reducing the spread of the virus through following all relevant guidance on how to safely conduct viewings." 

Hayward continues: “It is vital that agents operate in accordance with government and Propertymark guidelines to help prevent the spread of Covid-19, keep movers and buyers safe and keep the housing market moving through these uncertain times.”

In Scotland, where a lockdown is now in force on the mainland and applies for the rest of January, the guidance from the Scottish government says:

“For activities in connection with moving home (including viewing a property), or for activities in connection with the maintenance, purchase, sale, letting, or rental of residential property that the person owns or is otherwise responsible for.  Travelling for the purposes of undertaking essential work on a property other than your main residence should not be used as a pretext for a holiday. You should not stay longer than for the length of time required to undertake the necessary work.”

More generally, the Scottish guidance says: “Although you can leave home for these purposes, you should stay as close to home as possible. Shop on-line or use local shops and services wherever you can.  Travel no further than you need to reach to a safe, non-crowded place to exercise in a socially distanced way. To minimise the risk of spread of Coronavirus it is crucial that we all avoid unnecessary travel.”

* Agents who want to see the full Westminster government guidance for the England lockdown can find it here.

  • Sam Hunter

    Positive news. Time to get valuable and visible (and largely virtual) in your community but maybe don’t shout that you can work while so many can’t.Be the conduit of information so many people will need right now and for the weeks to come.
    Hands, face, space. Take care out there.

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    So you can't visit friends and family but you can go in strangers homes.

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    Whilst I appreciate it's a highly important sector of the economy, I believe the notion of being able to continue with physical appointments is a highly risky strategy and an unnecessary risk at this time of mounting fear over the virus. Virtual viewings don't work - people still want to see what they're planning to buy - viewing numbers are at an all time high in some areas! It can't be right to allow multiple strangers in your home, even with the inclusion of strict guidelines / ppe, when the message is to stay home and avoid mixing to prevent the spread. I have friends and family in the industry who are fearful to go to work because of this and are left wondering why they're being made to visit so many houses with so many strangers when they can't see their own family. The government needs to reevaluate their position on this as a matter of urgency.

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    What this mean is you won't be able to get any grants, and 90% of buyers and sellers don't know they can continue to view and yet that's good news? then there is covid spreading.

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    Can Photographers still go into properties and if so what are the guidelines? can they still move/touch items within the home, does the property have to be vacated by the seller?
    Obviously wearing a mask is mandatory just wondered if there were any other precautions for someone that spends so long interacting with a property.

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