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Government look to create more clarity

Monday 11 May 2020

Propertymark has absorbed every step of progress made over the last 24 hours and has been in contact with the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) throughout the day as we try to secure Government guidance for the sector. As it stands, the guidance issued on 26 March is still in force today.

As we work to secure sector-specific guidance, agents must make sure they are making appropriate plans to bring their business out of lockdown. While documents published today outline greater detail on a number of issues, they do not provide the clarity that the sector is waiting for on key areas and Propertymark continues to push for answers. Meanwhile, consumers' demand for viewings has increased today with potential buyers across the UK contacting Propertymark members.

The Government guidance to the sector currently remains as it was on 26 March. Consumers that are demanding viewings are leads to be nurtured until the point at which a face to face viewing - if that is the final hurdle - can once again be executed safely. This nurturing can involve video viewings and vendors conducting a more amateur viewing by phone around the house, where 360-degree software is not available.

Propertymark is working with key industry stakeholders and it’s never been more important to back our industry campaign.

Social distancing

Propertymark has been working to establish practical, safe guidance that each agency can use as a basis for their own social distancing arrangements. Within overarching areas such as viewings, removals, and conveyancing, there will be myriad scenarios and therefore guidance will not address every situation – individual agencies must take the principles and employ them within their own business with the safety of staff, clients and their local community their paramount consideration.

Getting ready, making preparations

It remains the case that where staff can carry out work from home this is Public Health England’s preference, freeing up space on public transport for those who cannot work remotely. When the time comes, agencies may choose to return staff to branches on a rotational basis combining branch and home-based work to accommodate re-opening with the required social distancing.

Although Propertymark does not yet know exactly when the Government will allow estate and letting agency premises and auction houses to re-open, business managers must make appropriate preparations within the information that is available now.

This will vary across premises and companies but key common areas are: arranging sufficient stocks of personal protective equipment and easy to access cleaning products and sanitiser but also considering whether there is sufficient space between work stations and preparation for minimising the hazards of frequently touched areas such as door handles, taps, kitchens, and toilets.

Propertymark will continue to provide industry input to MHCLG and press the importance of housing markets across the UK.  

Government guidance