Landlord, tenant and investor guidance - viewings and surveyors COVID-19 (January 2021)
January 19, 2021
Our main focus at Vesta is the health and safety of our customers, their tenants, our partners and our teams, so we are closely monitoring advice from the UK Government and the World Health Organisation as it evolves over time.
We have created this blog page to provide landlords, tenants and investors with relevant information and resources to help you during these unprecedented times, notably as things start to move towards the "new normal".
The UK Government has said that the single most important action we can all take, in fighting coronavirus, is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives. The most important place to get the very latest information from the UK Government is here - www.gov.uk/coronavirus. This site provides guidance and relevant information for everybody and we recommend this should be your starting point for information.
The government has amended the coronavirus (COVID-19) guidelines to make clear that people who wish to move home can do so. This guidance provides important public health information to ensure that moving home and key activities around this, such as viewing a property, can happen safely. Note this is continually being reviewed and may change at any time.
Conducting property viewings
Initial viewings should be done virtually wherever this is possible and Vesta can help you to do this.
- All physical viewings should be limited to members of the same household, should be by appointment only and open house viewings are not permitted.
- At Vesta, we are aiming to only conduct physical viewings once an offer has been made and validated, before arranging a physical viewing (where necessary) in order to protect all parties.
- Prior to these guidelines, Vesta has been working with landlords and tenants to be able to provide video and virtual tours of their properties and we will continue to work closely with both landlords and tenants to assist with providing marketing materials in a safe manner.
- If a physical viewing is required, where possible, you should avoid touching surfaces, wash your hands regularly and bring your own hand sanitiser.
- If people are being shown around your home, you should open all internal doors and ensure surfaces, such as door handles, are cleaned after each viewing with standard household cleaning products.
- We recommend that you vacate the property whilst viewings are taking place in order to minimise contact.
- If you are the landlord and the property is currently tenanted, then we ask that you do not attend the viewing.
- With Vesta specialising in tenanted buy-to-let properties, we work closely with tenants, landlords and property managers to make sure that these guidelines are being followed in order to enable viewings to take place in a safe way. Please let us know immediately if you have an experience where you feel that these guidelines are not being followed.
- Anyone involved in any aspect of the home moving process should practice social distancing in line with public health advice.
- If you are particularly worried about the risk of infection, then please let us know, and we will work with our partners involved as they may be able to put in place extra measures.
- If you or anyone in your household has tested positive for COVID-19, is showing symptoms, or is self-isolating, then it is not appropriate to undertake or attend a viewing. Please let us know if that is the case and we can reschedule any viewings.
Everyone involved in the moving process must follow social distancing to minimise the spread of the virus.
Arranging visits from surveyors and EPC assessors
Surveyors and EPC assessors can undertake surveys and assessments of the property you wish to sell or purchase.
- Surveyors should not enter a property where a member of the household has tested positive for COVID-19, is showing symptoms, or is self-isolating.
- As surveyors, assessors and additional service providers start to return to work, Vesta will continue to monitor their guidance and processes in order to make sure they are aligned with government guidelines to protect the health of all parties.
- Where possible we encourage inspections to take place by appointment only, with one person visiting the property at any time. Surveyors are required to follow government guidance for professionals working in other people’s homes and guidance on social distancing.
- Vesta works closely with a number of surveyors, EPC assessors and other service providers who aim to provide high-level professionalism and care in making sure that services can be fulfilled in a safe and timely manner.
- If your home is being surveyed, you should ensure that the surveyor has access to all the parts of the property they need to inspect, and make efforts to minimise contact with the surveyor, for example by staying in another room whilst they are inspecting your home.
- Surveyors should contact Vesta with regards to the property to be surveyed prior to the survey to make sure it can be understood which areas will be surveyed and ensure that all doors and access panels are open and surfaces have been cleaned with household cleaning products in line with public health advice.
- During a visit, members of the household should follow social distancing guidance, staying 2 metres away wherever possible, for example by staying in another room.
National Residential Landlords Association
The NRLA (National Residential Landlords Association) provides expertise, support and tools to help landlords. In light of coronavirus, they have created a guide designed to provide information and support for landlords that will be regularly updated as the Government advice changes.
ARLA Propertymark, the professional and regulatory body for letting agents is working hard to seek clarification from Government across a number of areas where COVID-19 will impact its members and therefore landlords and tenants. To find out the latest visit their website here.
Vanessa and the team at Property Tribes provide an amazing resource and forum for landlords to get the support they need across a range of issues, regulatory and any other landlord or property related question. More recently they are providing information, advice, and insight around coronavirus issues and topics of relevance to landlords. To find out more visit their website here.
Landlord Today is another great resource to read the latest news and views – this article about the best approach when dealing with tenants is worth reading.
It has never been more important to keep tenants in their homes. We understand many landlords will still need or want to sell their investment properties and we are continuing to see demand to buy from our investor community.
As a result of the lockdown, we are working with landlords, managing agents and tenants to create video walk-throughs for each new property listing on Vesta. We are also in the process, where possible, of obtaining these videos for each of our current live listings. In certain properties we may also be able to provide virtual viewings with live real-time walk-throughs facilitated by the tenant or landlord where vacant. If you are thinking of selling go to our sell page here and we can start the process with you.
The Vesta team is working from home (the new normal but we're still open for business and will be able to respond to calls, emails or webchat so if you have any questions please get in touch.