Return To Work Guidance Expected This Week

Despite reports highlighting the post-lockdown social distancing measures for estate agents being leaked last week, the government’s 50 page document detailing the phases of lockdown relaxations and subsequent return to work guidance omitted the property sector.

Whilst this means property stakeholders are placed in the non-essential set of businesses which could be permitted to return to work on June 1, NAEA Propertymark anticipates guidance to be released in the coming weeks.

The leaked guidance speculated that viewings, when permitted, will be ‘contactless’, require vendors to deep clean the premises after each viewing, cap viewings at 15 minutes with owners vacating the building.

For the time being at least, the sector remains confused by the advice offered in the past few days with tradespeople allowed in houses, but estate agents still forced to adhere to home buying and selling advice issued on March 26.

The advice from NAEA Propertymark is for agents and sector stakeholders to plan for the time when the property market is permitted to reopen. Planning for how social distancing measures, such as office space planning and staggering staff office working, will be important for when restrictions are lifted.

Mark Hayward, chief executive of NAEA Propertymark, commented:

“I was disappointed that the Prime Minister’s announcement didn’t contain any answers for estate agents” Hayward tells Knight Frank in an interview for the agency.

“We are in daily contact with the government and I am cautiously hopeful that there will be some sector-specific guidance this week. We are hopefully moving closer to something that resembles a functioning marketplace.

“People are confused. If tradespeople are now allowed into the property, why not estate agents? The government is telling people to go to work if they need to, does that include doing market appraisals?”

Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, said:

“The current restrictions, while necessary and important, have been difficult, with some families feeling stuck in homes no longer suitable for them. We do not want these measures to continue any longer than they need to.

“That’s why I’m looking to ease restrictions on moving home as soon as it is safe to do so, guided by scientific and medical advice.”

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