On Tuesday evening, 13th May 2020 the Government announced property moves could now take place. Since the COVID lockdown started on 23rd March people could only move home if “absolutely necessary”, which meant most moves did not happen.
As a result, we have a backlog of people who want to move in or out of properties, which we are clearing over the next couple of weeks.
There is also pent up demand from people who want to consider a new home – we had a flurry of enquiries within minutes of the news breaking!
The big change is we can now visit “a residential property to undertake any activities required for the rental or sale of that property”. Just before the start of lockdown, we prepared video viewings for as many properties as we could. During the lockdown, we have been familiarising ourselves with a new 360 camera system. This will mean we can do full virtual property tours remotely. We are spending the next couple of weeks getting these set up for all vacant properties.
Once an applicant has seen a property virtually and providing the property is vacant, we are conducting one to one physical property viewings. Obviously, we will be observing social distancing and using the relevant PPE during these visits. To minimise the chance of infection we will not normally do any physical viewings in properties with existing tenants.
Where a person wishes to take a property we can complete the application, referencing, and property check-in processes through electronic documentation, online systems, and video meetings. The only physical connection will be when we hand over the keys on check-in day.
The change also means we can complete end of tenancy visits, although to reduce the risk of infection we will complete these alone – in the past, we often would be accompanied by the outgoing tenant for these. We are confident that the use of comprehensive photographs combined with detailed assessment against the original inventory will mean this change should not present a problem to landlords or tenants.
Given we all believe the COVID issue is likely to be with us for many months, it is clearly important to find a way for people to be able to move home. The fact we can complete lettings safely and with minimal physical contact has clearly been a factor in allowing the Government to make this welcome change. We are and will continue to take a cautious yet sensible approach to ensure we keep the protection of people and reduction of infection rates as the priority whilst still delivering our great services.
If you have any questions then please let me know 👉🏻[email protected]
Matthew Lester, MARLA