Latest News

Discretion in Scottish COVID-19 grant scheme means eligible agencies should get help

04 June 2020

The Scottish Government has responded to concerns raised by Propertymark on behalf of its members, following reports that some Scottish agents had been denied access to business support schemes when local authorities declared the grant is not available to their sector. Read More...

How agents can help vulnerable tenants during self-isolation

03 June 2020

Some tenants who are self-isolating because they are higher risk may face other challenges apart from the direct risk and impact of the virus, Agents are a key part of local communities and can provide housing and support to those in need. Read More...

Greater flexibility built into Job Retention Scheme

01 June 2020

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced on Friday 29 May, changes to the Job Retention Scheme (commonly known as the Furlough Scheme). Read More...

Electrical safety guidance – England

01 June 2020

The UK Government has today, 1 June 2020, released guidance on the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020. Read More...

Understanding the steps to recovery

Monday 11 May 2020

Later today, further information will be made available following the Prime Minister’s address to the nation on Sunday 10 May, which had been widely anticipated and was met with some confusion, particularly across borders within the UK as the Government tried to achieve an almost impossible balance between protecting lives and the NHS while restarting the economy.

The PM said that the campaign against the virus has come at a colossal cost to the rest of our lives which we can see all around us with the ‘shuttered shops and abandoned businesses’.

Key points

  • After 3 pm today, new lockdown rules are expected to be laid out in Parliament with an initial road map of how to “reopen society”
  • The government “will not hesitate to put on the brakes” if there are further outbreaks of the virus
  • The Prime Minister urged the UK to “stay alert” and not risk a second spike, stating that "…this is not the time simply to end the lockdown this week"  
  • Schools will not return before 1 June at the earliest.

Branch and viewings

Government advice to the sector has not been updated since the existing advice on 26 March, agents should be working at home where possible and “agents should not open branches to the public during this period, or visit people’s homes to carry out market appraisals.”

Business leaders are calling for more clarity and transparency and Propertymark has been running a campaign calling for the sector to return soonest, with agreed industry-wide safety arrangements for viewings and conveyancing work.

Propertymark is working with Government departments on how practical arrangements should work in the interests of those buying, selling, renting, and letting and in order that agents can support their businesses. These arrangements must prioritise safety but provide agents with a clear understanding of what is and is not acceptable in relation to not only viewings but also responsibility for personal protective equipment for each party, EPCs, maintenance work, routine checks, and other issues. Propertymark continues to remind Government how important the property markets are to the economy, while also stressing that arrangements will only be viable if they can be easily understood and are respected by the whole sector.

Removals

We have also been working with key stakeholders such as the British Association of Removals and conveyancing bodies including The Law Society to ensure that the sector has the support that it needs to progress chains that have been paused and to build consumer confidence in order to feed supply.

Propertymark has been releasing a series of articles as part of Post Pandemic Planning to support agents in making their businesses ready for transitioning staff back to work in branch premises and updating processes to reflect the new reality.

Containing the risks

The PM says different parts of the country are “experiencing the pandemic at different rates” and the Government should be “flexible in its response”. He outlined that the threat of a second spike is still very real and that we must all play our part in containing the risks posed by the virus.

He was tentative, however, saying that proposals are “subject to all these conditions and further scientific advice”, and adding that it would only happen “if and only if the numbers support it”.