Agents are being contacted by local council officers to check how Covid-safe their operations are.
Paul Offley, compliance officer for The Guild, said that in a number of local authorities, agents are being contacted by an external source acting on behalf of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to undertake a Covid-19 review of their business.
He says this can be done either by telephone or meeting.
Offley says: “Having spoken with the HSE, I don’t believe there is a pass or fail with this, and it is more of an understanding of the measure’s firms are taking, especially in England with the Prime Minister’s recent announcement on preparing for autumn and winter.
“I think an important document to have at hand is your ‘Covid-19 secure operating plan’, and it advisable that this document has been updated to reflect latest recommendations.”
The Guild has also released tips for how agents can adapt to stay Covid-safe with colder months ahead and an expectation of a rise in infections.
The tips are:
1: We will operate in accordance with Government guidance at all times and take all reasonable steps to protect our team and our customers and have in place measures to help prevent the spreading of the Covid-19 virus.
2: Our offices will be open, but at times we will restrict numbers entering to ensure social distancing can take place.
3: We support the guidance that face coverings should be worn when in any enclosed/indoor setting with people who you are not normally with.
4: We will have hand sanitiser at appropriate points in offices for use by staff and visitors.
5: In the office and on appointments we will take all reasonable steps to ensure social distancing is maintained.
6: We will not permit any face-to-face meeting to take place in any case where any party has been advised to self-isolate or is awaiting Covid-19 test results.
7: We will ensure our offices are well ventilated at all times and that our team has access to regular hand washing facilities.
8: We will recommend virtual appointments as a first option to reduce the level of face-to-face contact.
9: We will issue digital information and communication where possible.
10: We will retain your information should this be needed for any NHS test and trace purposes.
11: Where viewing/market appraisal appointments are undertaken we will open all internal doors to restrict ‘touching’ of surfaces.
12: For property viewings we will request that the number of people attending the viewing is kept to a minimum.
13: We have maintained a flexible working pattern allowing our teams to work from home where they can and where they are able to do so. This may be on a fixed basis or as and when required, so whilst you may not ‘see’ us all the time in the office, we want to reassure you we are still here, still offering all of our services but from the safety of our homes.
14: If our own teams are working in the office then they will take a Covid-19 lateral test to identify any early signs of a potential issue, even if they are not showing any symptoms.
15: We have a dedicated Covid-19 responsible person who should be the first point of contact for any Covid-19 related queries.
16: We reserve the right to amend these procedures at short notice depending on Government advice at the time.