Cross-Industry Guidance Launched On Safely Reopening Market

A cross-industry guide, co-authored by a number of residential sector and professional organisations’ representatives, has been launched today in a bid to provide practical guidance on how to ensure all aspects of the home buying and selling process is completed safely.

The guide, “Re-Opening the Home Moving Market Safely” has been approved by the Council of Licensed Conveyancers (CLC), the Council of Property Search Organisations (CoPSO), Residential Property Surveyors Association and The Home Buying and Selling Group, ACSO, ARLA, BAR, Bold Legal Group, Conveyancing Association, CoPSO, CLC,HBF, MHCLG, NAEA, HM Land Registry PEPA, RICS, SLC, The Law Society and UK Finance.

The guidance targets a huge range of property market representatives including ‘property agents, mortgage advisers, property managers, property lawyers/conveyancers, surveyors, energy assessors, home removal, and also associated professionals such as those contractors involved in property development, management, and the home moving processes in the UK.’

It is hoped that the guidance will also be helpful in advising stakeholders on how to prepare clients or occupants for home visits.

Paul Smee, Chair of the Conveyancing Association, commented:

“This practical Guide for all property professionals involved in the home moving process supplements, and builds on, the Government’s own guidance published earlier today and provides recommendations for individual behaviour to reduce the risks of COVID-19, as well as key advice in areas such as client engagement, ID requirements, documentation, preparing a home for sale, plus pre- and post-inspections of properties.

“Our key aim in contributing to this is to ensure that home moves can proceed in a safe manner and that industry professionals are aware of their responsibilities and the actions they should be taking in order to make sure this happens.

“This Guide will be followed by both specific consumer information plus conveyancing sector guidance which will cover a range of recommendations, as well as a checklist for conveyancers to follow.

“The CA is pleased to see the housing market in England being opened up, but are aware that this is not the case yet in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, and there will be ongoing worries about this and the safety of the process.

“This Guide is designed to alleviate a number of those concerns and to spell out that safety of both professionals and consumers should be at the heart of everything we do in order to ensure we can move people into their new homes.”

Stephen Ward, Director of Strategy at the Council for Licensed Conveyancers, says:

“This cross-sector guidance should help property lawyers get back to work while protecting the public and staff. As the Government’s guidance makes clear, conveyancers will continue to need to work remotely as far as possible. The CLC continues to provide guidance and advice to our regulated community to support remote working, which is available on the coronavirus resource pages of our website.”

James Sherwood-Rogers, CoPSO Chairman said:

“This industry guidance builds on that already provided by Government and will be supplemented by specific guidance for consumers who are buying and selling homes. CoPSO will also be issuing sector specific guidance for search companies. Fundamental to all the guidance that is being issued is the controlled and secure operation of the property market ensuring the safety of those involved. With that in mind we are grateful to the councils who have minimised contact by providing electronic access to data and we encourage them, and the last 20 or so who are not doing that, to continue to do so until the threat of coronavirus has subsided.”

Alan Milstein RPSA Chairman, commented:

“This unparalleled cooperation by all those involved in helping consumers move home will ensure that the market can become operational as quickly as possible, and with the safety of all concerned, both professionals and movers, as the paramount concern.

“RPSA Surveyors play a vital role in helping people feel secure in their new home purchase, and we are encouraged that so many industry sectors have contributed to this initiative, working in partnership, to support home movers.

“While it is inevitable that patience will be required by all parties as new working practices bed in, the health and well being of all involved will be at the forefront of our minds as we work to help the market re-open.”

Kate Faulkner, Chair of the Home Buying & Selling Group, says:

“The re-opening of the property market is incredibly important for those currently stuck in properties which are no longer suitable for them. However, both property professionals and consumers need to make sure they adhere to these new guidelines so everyone can move safely. The property sector has worked incredibly hard to ensure these guidelines allow buying, selling and renting a home to be done safely, which is of paramount importance. Consumers will need to be patient while the industry gears up to move them.”


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