Latest News

Rent controls are not the answer

08 April 2021

On 6 April, Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan announced his manifesto ahead of the local elections in May 2021 with some key policy announcements that impact the housing sector, including proposals to introduce rent controls in the private rented sector. Read More...

Rent arrears mediation service information released

08 April 2021

Details of the UK Government’s housing possession mediation service was released yesterday, 7 April 2021, which was initially introduced in February 2021, as part of the current court process for housing possession cases. Read More...

Long term financial plan needed for greener property sector

08 April 2021

The UK Government announced that the Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme launched last year will close to new applications on 31 March 2021, twelve months earlier than originally planned. Read More...

COVID-19 restrictions relaxed and financial support announced

01 April 2021

From today, 1 April, restrictions across Northern Ireland have eased further as part of the Executive's roadmap out of lockdown and the Coronavirus Financial Assistance (Business Support) Scheme 2021 was launched on 31 March by the Department of Finance. Read More...

 

Agents urged to support lone workers

Wednesday 24 March 2021

With many agents required to work alone, it is important employers put in place measures to ensure their safety. After the tragic disappearance in 1986 of estate agent, Suzy Lamplugh, the Trust, in her name, provides guidance for workers to reduce the risk of violence and aggression.

Lone workers are those who work without close or direct supervision and employers have a duty to assess procedures in place to protect staff, taking steps to avoid or control risks where necessary. This is particularly the case for agents who may be conducting property viewings with clients.

The Suzy Lamplugh Trust has published guidance to support those required to work alone, enabling employers to use the information to keep their staff safe.

Working from home

It is always best practice for agents not to advertise they are working from home. It is advisable to put a ‘buddy’ system in place, so someone is aware of what remote colleagues are doing. Another good practice is to arrange for a colleague to ring a staff member who may be meeting a new client for a viewing ten minutes into the meeting to make sure they’re OK, agreeing a code word for them to use if they are in trouble.

Working with customers

Staff should have the means of communicating with colleagues and a manager if something goes wrong. It is a good idea to have in place a procedure for staff to be able to raise the alarm, enabling them to call for assistance and making sure the system is tested so that everyone knows how to respond if it is triggered. If anyone is handling cash, make sure they keep it out of sight to avoid being seen as a target.

Lone working property viewings

Ahead of any meeting, employers should consider using a tracing system to be aware of where employees are at all times. Risk assessments to identify any risks related to the people, environment, or tasks must also be carried out.

When agents are entering a property, they should familiarise themselves with the exits in case they feel threatened, making sure they know how doors open if they need to leave quickly. It is advisable to tell staff to conduct their own risk assessments and to trust their instincts and leave if they feel uncomfortable or are unsure. When the client arrives, the meeting should be kept to time and not overrun, particularly if there is a long gap between this meeting and the next one (as advised in Propertymark’s Coronavirus safety advice).

View more guidance

Hollie Guard app

An emergency alarm system allowing agents to notify colleagues if they are in trouble can be effective for keeping lone workers safe.

Hollie Guard is an app available for mobile phones which can be activated by shaking the device. This immediately notifies chosen emergency contacts and pinpoints their location, sending audio and visual information to their mobile phones.

Propertymark resources

Propertymark offers a Lone Worker Safety online course aimed at workers who make visits to domestic housing, void properties and business units or required to work in the office.

It provides an outline of health and safety management law and covers the principles of good practice, including mobile phone safety, contingency planning and exit strategies.