New Guidance on Home Buying Released

Detached House in North West, UK

The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) has just published its latest updated home moving guidance for England in step 4 of the roadmap out of lockdown, following the changes to restrictions on Monday, 19 July 2021. The guidance lays out advice to both the industry and those who are moving home, urging all parties involved in a property transaction to continue to follow general hygiene practices and ensure everyone’s safety.

Paul Offley, compliance officer at The Guild of Property Professionals, says there are no great surprises in the guidance and many agents had already made the decision to keep many of the COVID measures in place for the safety of the public and their colleagues.

He adds: “So many lives have been impacted by the pandemic and many were apprehensive to drop the restrictions, whether they were Government mandated or not. While we are all looking forward to a return to some normality, it is also important that we do not un-do the good work achieved but learn to live with COVID in our day to day lives,” says Offley.

He adds that while much of the guidance is voluntary, there are aspects that agents in England should consider during this next stage:

  1. The ‘work from home’ guidance

Offley says that while the ‘work from home’ guidance will now be lifted, agents should think about how this is going to work in their business. “Many firms are experiencing benefit from different working patterns; so, whilst the guidance is lifted, it is not mandatory, and firms should decide for themselves what is right for their business and their teams. Be mindful also that the requirement to self-isolate for anyone coming into contact with a person who tests positive could have an impact on your business if you have everyone back in the office,” he advises.

  1. Self-Isolation

Offley says that agents should remind members of their team that if they are contacted by NHS test and trace, they must continue to follow any self-isolation period. “Make it clear when arranging any appointments that these should not go ahead if any party has been advised to self-isolate or awaiting test results,” he adds.

  1. Face coverings

Everybody will react differently to this. While some will be ready to venture out without one, others will be less inclined to do so. “It will be important to respect everyone’s decision either in the office or on appointments. It is advisable to ask the question ‘would you prefer us/your viewer to wear a face covering at the appointment,” Offley suggests.

  1. Hand washing

We’ve all got used to carrying with us our little bottle of sanitizer and using these on entering/leaving shops and premises – agents should keep this up, as it is massively helpful in preventing the spread of the virus and will put a lot of people at ease.