A new cross-industry guide to re-opening the housing market and enabling people to move safely has now been published.
The collaborative industry guide sets out in detail how home moves can take place while still fully complying with social distancing measures and Public Health guidance.
“Re-Opening the Home Moving Market Safely” delivers practical advice for all involved in the home moving process and focuses on physical contact points and times when professionals would need to enter private residential properties.
The guide was developed collaboratively by the residential sector and professional organisations’ representatives. Specifically, it is relevant to property agents, mortgage advisers, property managers, property lawyers/conveyancers, surveyors, energy assessors, home removals, and also associated professionals such as those contractors involved in property development, management, and the home moving processes in the UK. The guidance approved by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) is the first in a series and will be followed by consumer guidance and further sector-specific guidance. The contents have been shared with Government, industry regulators and Public Health authorities. As the situation is constantly evolving, information to be updated regularly and sector-specific guidance will be continuously added.
Recommendations include those for individual behaviour, client engagement and transparency, how ID checks can take place, and only allowing office attendance from clients by personal appointment. Consideration must also be given to video viewing and checking the COVID-19 status of occupants. It also states that ideally one professional and two adults maximum can take part in a physical viewing and that these should take place outside of commute times. Terms of engagement/client letters must be amended to confirm restrictions or information on the physical inspection/visit.
The guidance will also help industry professionals and firms advise clients and/ or occupiers on how to prepare for a viewing/inspection/ visit. In accordance with public health guidance, it advises high-risk category clients and occupiers, not to be present at viewings wherever possible. There will be a separate document published later aimed at consumers wishing to buy and sell property.
Stephen Ward, Director of Strategy at the Council for Licensed Conveyancers, says: “This cross-sector guidance should help property lawyers get back to work while protecting the public and staff. As the Government’s guidance makes clear, conveyancers will continue to need to work remotely as far as possible. The CLC continues to provide guidance and advice to our regulated community to support remote working, which is available on the coronavirus resource pages of our website.”
Kate Faulkner, Chair of the Home Buying & Selling Group, says: “The re-opening of the property market is incredibly important for those currently stuck in properties which are no longer suitable for them. However, both property professionals and consumers need to make sure they adhere to these new guidelines so everyone can move safely. The property sector has worked incredibly hard to ensure these guidelines allow buying, selling and renting a home to be done safely, which is of paramount importance. Consumers will need to be patient while the industry gears up to move them.”