img_1 update

We have analyzed guidance from The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) on how we should conduct our business during the COVID-19 pandemic status in the UK.

Even before formal guidance was issued, we made the decision to close our offices and work remotely. Our teams are fully functional from an availability standpoint, but our operational ability has significantly changed which is crystallized in the information below.

For contact, please call the Stokesley 01642 711 111

Do I pull out of my agreed transaction?

Directly from MHCLG:

“There is no need to pull out of transactions, but we all need to ensure we are following guidance to stay at home and away from others at all times, including the specific measures for those who are presenting symptoms, self-isolating or shielding. Prioritising the health of individuals and the public must be the priority.”

Please note where possible we will try and facilitate everyone’s move. There are steps that can be undertaken from a cleaning perspective, and clearly, moves are essential for a variety of reasons.

Furthermore, there is no reason why a vacant property should have its completion delayed.

There is further guidance for Conveyancers in line with agreed transactions

Directly from MHCLG:

“Conveyancers should continue to support the sales process as far as possible and should make sure their clients are aware of the difficulties of completing transactions in this period:

·      Conveyancers should continue to support the sales of unoccupied properties as far as possible.

·      Conveyancers should make every effort to support clients who are due to complete on occupied properties in the stay-at-home period to change this date.

·      Conveyancers should advise their clients who are ready to move not to exchange contracts on an occupied property unless they have made explicit provision for the risks presented by the virus.”

Your conveyancer should act to support the transaction, and we have found with two completions last week tremendous support from conveyancers to get transactions through.

Clearly, if you have a property transaction at the moment, wherever that is, there is steps you can undertake to ensure completion happens including offering cleaning services as required.

Can I speak to you about preparing my home for sale?

Directly from MHCLG:

“Getting your home onto the market may be more challenging than usual in this period. There should be no visitors to your home. You can speak to Estate Agents over the phone and they will be able to give you general advice about the local property market and handle certain matters remotely but they will not be able to start actively marketing your home in the usual manner.”

·      If you are thinking about selling, you can use this time to start gathering together all of the information you will need to provide to potential purchasers.

·      Advice for people to stay at home and away from others means you should not invite unnecessary visitors into your home, including Property Agents to carry out a market appraisal or take internal photographs prior to marketing your home; and Energy Performance Certificate assessors.

If you are currently living in your property no estate agent, under this guidance is able to access your property to either meet you for the benefit or a valuation or complete viewings on your property.

We are of course fully available over the telephone and by email and would be delighted to speak to you in regards to any property matter and give appropriate market advice on current market conditions.

However, if your property is vacant or you have developed a vacant property to the market, we can still market it and look to attend viewings in line with Government guidance on safe distancing and the number of people in attendance.

Associated work to estate agency/home-movers


Directly from MHCLG:

“Surveyors should not expect to carry out non-urgent surveys in homes where people are in residence, and no inspections should take place if any person in the property is showing symptoms, self-isolating or being shielded. It may be possible to carry out some of your work online and also carry out urgent surveys on empty properties, or those where the occupants are out of the property or the following guidance to stay at home and away from others.”

If you are under offer, in occupation it will not be deemed ‘essential’ a surveyor visits your home to conduct a survey for a future buyer. We found it difficult just prior to the pandemic status for individual surveyors to agree to attend and clearly if you have agreed on a transaction, and if it’s yet to be surveyed, you need to check the situation with your buyer and timescale associated.

Some buyers will be buying without recourse to a mortgage, and other buyers will have a limited mortgage, perhaps to an extent that the lender will be able to conduct a desktop only survey.

This advice could at least help move your transaction forward, but you will have the scenario of completion dates discussed above if you are living in the property you are selling.

Removals Firms

Directly from MHCLG:

“There will be people who have already committed to moving home; where possible we are encouraging them to delay their move but a small number of moves may need to go ahead. We would urge everyone to take all sensible precautions to ensure the move can happen safely.

·      Removers should honour their existing commitments where it is clear that the move can be done safely for the client and your own staff and it is clear that the moving date cannot be moved.

·      Removers should follow the latest Government guidance which currently (26 March 2020) states that work carried out in people’s homes can continue, provided the tradesperson is well and has no symptoms or coronavirus (COVID-19).

·      It is important to ensure Government guidelines are followed, including maintaining a 2-metre distance from others and washing their hands with soap and water often for at least 20 seconds (or using hand sanitizer gel if soap and water are not available).

·      No work should be carried out by a person who has coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, however mild.”

Clearly, all removal firms should honor existing contracts and not pull out of agreed work. Where work is being undertaken, in the same way, we will be undertaking viewing work on vacant property, safe distance guidelines should be adhered to.

For Landlords

We look at some operational guidance for landlords released by MHCLG, for any specific questions please contact our property management team. or 01642 927288.

Directly from MHCLG:

“Landlords’ repair obligations have not changed. We are encouraging tenants to inform landlords early and engage constructively in the event that they encounter any issues with the condition of the property. Technological solutions such as smartphones can be used to reduce the need for in-person inspections of property issues.

However, in these unprecedented times, we encourage tenants and landlords to take a pragmatic, common-sense approach to non-urgent issues that are affected by COVID-19 related restrictions.

Inspectors or maintenance workers can still visit blocks of flats and multi-occupied properties for essential or urgent work such as inspecting and testing fire alarm and emergency lighting systems.

Urgent health and safety issues are those which will affect your tenant’s ability to live safely and maintain their mental and physical health in the property. This could include (but not limited to):

·      If there is a problem with the fabric of the building, for example, the roof is leaking.

·      If the boiler is broken, leaving your tenant without heating or hot water

·      If there is a plumbing issue, meaning your tenant does not have washing or toilet facilities

·      If the white goods such as the fridge or washing machine have broken, meaning the tenant is unable to wash clothes or store food safely

·      If there is a security-critical problem, such as a broken window or external door

·      If equipment a disabled person relies on requires installation or repair.”

What about my legal obligations to provide regular gas and electrical safety inspections? Will I be prosecuted If I can’t get access because I or my tenants are self-isolating?

Directly from MHCLG:

“Landlords must provide tenants with all necessary gas and electrical safety and any other relevant certification at the beginning of a tenancy (and carry out all scheduled inspections and tests where required). Where inspections have already been carried out, documents can be provided by post or in some circumstances it may be possible to provide digital copies.

“If you are not able to gain access to the property due to restrictions in place to tackle COVID-19, or are not able to engage a contractor to carry out the necessary work, we recommend you document your attempts to do so and all correspondence with your tenants.”

Clearly, there will be the need for some comprise on access between both landlords and tenants, and the Government is clear that they expect all parties to work together for access. Tradespeople can still access people’s owner-occupied residence during the COVID-19 and as of 30/03 major construction sites remain open in line with Government guidance of working practices.

We have the online portal Fixflo fully operational and have technology that allows the reporting via smartphones to take place. We will be asking all landlords and tenants to consider their obligations in line with the above.


Clearly, this is a very fluid situation, one that continues to evolve and change. As a company, we salute the efforts of the NHS in fighting this pandemic and support the efforts of the Government while adhering to their principle that business, were deemed safe to do so, continues in the most suitable form possible.

We hope that you and your family are safe and if you need to reach out to us over any property matter please pick up the phone, we would be delighted to consult with you where possible and provide operational services in line with the above guidelines.

All the very best and stay safe.



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