Coronavirus (COVID-19): Property FAQs

Providing sellers, landlords, buyers and tenants the answers they need in these unprecedented circumstances

Following the breaking news released on the evening of Tuesday 12th May that the property industry can re-open, we have put together a new list of FAQs and guidance to those who are actively looking to buy, sell, rent or let property.

The government have released full guidance for homemovers which you can read here. In addition, we have carried out a risk assessment and have produced infographics to explain to viewers and owners/occupiers how viewings will be conducted while our country continues to fight the battle against COVID-19. These have been sent to our active database by email.

If you are particularly worried about the risk of infection, please speak to us.

As before, our priority is the safety of our staff, our clients and their families. We will continue to keep you abreast of any developments; but please know that we are here, answering calls, emails and offering as much industry advice as possible to help you with your move.

As ever, our hearts are with all those who have been personally affected by COVID-19 as well as the many communities around the world who are facing extreme measures in the attempt to slow it's spread.

Three-tier lockdown: what do the new coronavirus measures mean for your move?

A reminder of general recommendations for reducing the risks associated with COVID-19

  • Limit contact with people outside your household
  • Duration and proximity of any contact affects transmission – stay at least 2 metres apart where possible and stay side by side rather than face to face
  • Avoid public transport wherever possible
  • Avoid peak travel times and go directly from work to home and back again
  • Wash hands as often as possible with soap or hand gel if soap/water is not available
  • Don’t open doors with your palm. Use your elbow or another body part instead
  • Eat at home or bring your own food to work
  • Do not shake hands
  • At petrol stations, use a paper towel or disposable gloves
  • Wash hands thoroughly when you return home
  • Always carry a disinfectant hand gel for when you cannot immediately wash your hands
  • Cough or sneeze in disposable tissue then throw it away (sneezing into the crook of your elbow is next best – don’t sneeze into your hands)
  • A face covering is recommended in enclosed public areas
  • Avoid touching your face

Skip to what's relevant to you

Or read through it all. But before you do...

Please note that any face-to-face appointments or property visits cannot take place where a member of the household has presented with coronavirus symptoms or tested positive for coronavirus within the last 14 days. In line with government advice, our staff will be required to check before any viewing or visit if any party has had COVID-19 or shown symptoms, are shielding or clinically vulnerable, or are currently self-isolating.

See the full government guidance for homemovers.

 

 

Jacobs Steel staff and our offices

Updated 13 May 2020
Are you open?

Yes we are! Some of our staff are continuing to work from home where possible, but our branches are now re-open. 

Please bear in mind that whilst people are now free to move home, the process of finding and moving into a new home is likely to be different to how you remember it! We hope to have covered most queries on this page, but if there's anything else you'd like to know please contact us.

Can I visit your office?

Yes you can, however all visits are by appointment only. Please contact your local branch to arrange your visit.

How are you protecting your staff?

The safety and well-being of our staff and clients is always our primary concern. We have conducted a full risk assessment for each of our offices and have issued a "COVID Secure" document to each member of our team. These documents contains guidlines on how to conduct business during the fight against the coronavirus.

If you would like a copy of any of the above, please contact us.

 

 

Preparing to buy or sell

Updated 13 May 2020
Can I put my property on the market?

It is now possible to arrange valuations, photographs and EPC's in order to get your property on the market. 

Jacobs Steel have conducted a full risk assessment and put suitable measures in place to ensure the risk of spreading the virus remains low.

Our consultants will be required to wear masks on viewings and wash their hands as soon as they enter a property. Social distancing guidance must be followed during all appointments.

We would advise you to consider the use of PPE during a visit and to properly clean/disinfect door handles and such once our representative has left your property.

Can I arrange in-person viewings?

It is now possible to arrange in-person viewings on a property; however the government advice is to ensure these are kept to a minimum. 

To help prevent the spread of infection, the government is encouraging people to do the majority of their property searching online; for example only physically viewing those properties which you believe you are most likely to want to move into. You can begin your search on our website, Rightmove, Zoopla and/or On The Market.

Are virtual viewings still available?

We understand that not everyone is able or ready to view properties in person; so our LIVE video viewings will still be an option for both buyers and vendors.

Am I able to make offers on properties?

Absolutely. You are free to make or accept an offer or reserve a property as normal.

 

 

Conducting/Attending In-Person Viewings

Updated 13 May 2020
Do I have to book in advance?

We have always operated a booking system for viewings and yes, you do still have to book in advance. Sellers should not show anyone round their home without a booked appointment through Jacobs Steel. 

Can I view any property?

In theory, yes. However, if we are informed that any member of one of our vendors' household has had COVID-19 or shown symptoms, are shielding or clinically vulnerable or are currently self-isolating, we will not be conducting any viewings until the required 14-day isolation period has lapsed.

Will a consultant from Jacobs Steel conduct the viewing?

We will absolutely attempt to accompany all booked viewings. Where viewings are unaccompanied, we will make absolutely sure that both viewers and homeowners understand how they should conduct themselves.

Can you offer open houses?

The government has made it clear that viewings are to be staggered to avoid overlapping; which means we are unable to conduct in-person open houses. We are looking at options that allow us to do this virtually.

The viewing process
  • Viewings must be booked in advance. A Jacobs Steel representative will meet you at the property. We are unable to offer chauffered viewings at this time.
  • No more than 2 people, plus our staff member, may attend a viewing. Both viewers must be from the same household; and we would advise against bringing children on viewings. Where children must attend, parents must ensure they do not touch any surfaces within the property.
  • Upon entering a property, viewers and staff members must wash their hands with soap and water and dry them on separate towels/paper towels, which are to be disposed of properly. In case our vendors are unable to provide access to hand-washing facilities, we would advise viewers to bring antibacterial gel. 
  • Social distancing guidelines must be followed throughout the entire viewing, where possible. In smaller spaces, viewers should consider wearing face coverings.
  • Our staff members will wear face-masks on all viewings.
  • Vendors must vacate their property prior to a viewing and leave all internal doors open to minimize our contact with surfaces. On return to your property, we would advise you thoroughly clean/disinfect obvious areas (such as front and rear door handles.
 

 

Under Offer / Purchasing a property

Updated 13 May 2020
Are conveyancers working as normal?

Like many firms, conveyancers have adopted working from home and have been doing so successfully throughout lockdown. The most recent government advice to conveyancers is that they should continue to do so, where possible.

If you don't yet have a conveyancer, we are able to recommend local, reliable firms that we have dealt with personally over the years. Contact your local Jacobs Steel branch to discuss.

Can surveys and mortgage valuations take place?

Your surveyor can undertake surveys of the property you wish to purchase.

Surveyors should not enter a property where a member of the household is showing symptoms of coronavirus or self-isolating.

Where possible, the government encourage inspections to take place by appointment only, with one person visiting the property at any time. Surveyors should follow government guidance for professionals working in other people’s homes and guidance on social distancing.

If your home is being surveyed, you should ensure 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.

Will we be able to exchange and complete?

Yes, you are now free to exchange, complete and move home! Anyone involved in any aspect of the home moving process should practice social distancing in line with public health advice.

Are removal companies available?

Removal firms are able to operate, although they may need to adjust usual procedures in order to ensure moves happen as safely as possible.

We would encourage you to contact removal firms as early as possible in advance of your move.

 

 

Landlords

Updated 09 June 2020
Can I put my property on the market?

It is now possible to arrange valuations, photographs and EPC's in order to get your property on the market. 

Jacobs Steel have conducted a full risk assessment and put suitable measures in place to ensure the risk of spreading the virus remains low.

If your rental property is vacant, we are happy to collect a key and attend alone; or meet you there, in which case social distancing guidance must be followed. If the property is tenanted, we will make suitable arrangements with your tenants and discuss the latest government guidance on how to safely attend an occupied property.

We would advise you/your tenant to properly clean/disinfect door handles and such once our representative has left your property.

Are new rent guarantee insurance policies now available?

Yes, it is now possible to take out new rent guarantee insurance policies. Our Lettings Manager can discuss this with you in more depth.

Can I arrange a gas or electrical safety check?

As per the governments advice, landlords should make every effort to abide by gas and electrical safety requirements, which continue to be of great importance for tenants’ safety. There are circumstances where this may not be possible during the coronavirus outbreak. See further Health and Safety Executive guidance on how to deal with specific circumstances

Has the guidance for landlords changed?

The government has put in place protections for tenants during the coronavirus outbreak, including legislation to delay when landlords are able to start proceedings to evict tenants. This means until 30 September 2020, most landlords will not be able to start possession proceedings unless they have given their tenants three-months’ notice.

While broader measures to protect tenants during the coronavirus outbreak remain in place, the government advice is that landlords should endeavour to avoid ending tenancies where the tenant wants, and is able, to stay.

You can view the government guidance on coronavirus and renting, which explains these protections in greater detail here.

How can I make repairs to my rental property?
If possible, necessary repairs, gas and electrical safety checks should be conducted in the period between a property being vacated and a new tenant moving in. If this is not possible and visits are needed to an occupied property, this should be done by appointment with measures put in place to ensure physical contact is minimised. We can put you in touch with available contractors.
 

 

Tenants

Updated 09 June 2020

Can I give notice and move?

Yes, you are now free to move home! Anyone involved in any aspect of the home moving process should practice social distancing in line with public health advice.

Can I arrange in-person viewings?

It is now possible to arrange in-person viewings on a property; however the government advice is to ensure these are kept to a minimum. 

To help prevent the spread of infection, the government is encouraging people to do the majority of their property searching online; for example only physically viewing those properties which you believe you are most likely to want to move into. You can begin your search on our website, Rightmove, Zoopla and/or On The Market.

Should I allow viewings to take place on my home?

We have strict protocol in place, in line with government advice, to ensure the safety and well-being of our staff, our clients and our tenants. You can see our viewing process here.

If you still feel nervous or unsure, please speak to us.

What happens if I need to sign something?

There is a lot that we are able to do remotely, however, should we need to meet with you in person this will be by appointment, social distancing and handwashing guidance will be followed and our representative will wear a face covering.

What do I do if I have a maintanance issue?

We are kindly asking that whilst our country is still trying to slow the spread of coronavirus, only absolutely essential maintenance issues are reported.

Please report maintenance issues in the usual way and we will discuss health and safety protocol with you.

 

View the government's full guidance for landlords and tenants here.

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