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Government tells agents: ‘exercise Covid caution and restraint’

Agents have been told in new government guidance that the liftings of some Covid restraints in wider society “does not mark the end of the need for caution and restraint.”

New guidance issued regarding moving home, issued on the main Gov.UK  website, says: “We urge everyone involved in the home buying and selling process to continue to follow good hygiene practices Including regular hand-washing, sanitising, and cleaning. These measures will help prevent the spread of infection. You should consider when it may be appropriate to follow additional advisory social distancing measures.”

And specifically about the latest restrictions being lifted - known as step 4 of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown - the government guidance to agents says: “Step 4 does not mark the end of the need for caution and restraint. At step 4, while many of the legal restrictions that the government has imposed through the pandemic will be lifted, guidance will remain, making it clear this is not yet a return to normal. 

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“While the virus continues to circulate, everybody needs to continue to act carefully and remain cautious. We will continue to manage the virus and provide guidance over the coming months.”

And the guidance still advises buyers and renters who are about to exchange contracts or sign tenancy agreements that they should be as flexible as possible and "discuss the possible implications of Covid-19 with your legal professional and consider making contractual provisions or other necessary measures to manage these risks…There is a greater risk that home moves may need to be delayed if someone in the transaction shows symptoms of Covid-19 or is self-isolating.”

Initial viewings should still be virtual wherever possible, the guidance suggests, and it tells landlords and vendors engaged in physical viewings that “‘if you would like people to wear a face covering when they view your property, you should make this clear to your agent.”

Timothy Douglas, policy and campaigns manager at Propertymark, comments on the revised government guidelines, by saying: “Estate agents have done a great job adapting and supporting home buyers and sellers throughout the pandemic and our message to members is to continue to follow steps that reduce the risk and spread of Covid-19. 

“The government’s stamp duty holiday is still in place until the end of September so there is continued activity in the market with consumers looking for ongoing support and guidance.”

You can see the revised government guidance for agents and others in the industry, here.

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