Coronavirus Preparations – Robert Williams Estate Agents
17th March 2020
In these unprecedented and constantly changing circumstances we are trying to stay up to date and respond to the latest advice from Government, Public Health England and the Chief Medical Officer. Wherever possible we aim to continue to offer services, and support our clients needs. In order to achieve this we are incorporating the following measures:
Office coverage – We aim to keep our usual office hours and the office staffed during this time, but with staff members working from home as much as possible. All of our systems and phones are internet based allowing us to operate fully via remote working. This means we will be contactable in the normal way through our office numbers or by email. We have already adopted the recommended measures to reduce risk within our office:
- Ensure that staff understand their individual responsibilities and are not afraid to alert us to any developments in their personal circumstances.
- Remind staff to wash hands in accordance with NHS Guidelines and use alcohol wipes to clean desks, keyboards, equipment and other surfaces regularly.
- Keep alcohol gel on desks and promote regular hand washing.
- Prevent staff from sharing phones and clean them with alcohol wipes regularly.
- Wipe down office door handles, handrails and communal areas regularly.
- Remain up to date on the latest guidance on sickness pay and Government support for financial disruption.
- Where staff have an overseas holiday booked, ensure they are following the latest travel advice from the Foreign Office: gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
Valuations – As it stands we are still able to visit properties to conduct valuations. If this situation changes or a client is unwilling for us to visit the property in person, we are able to offer valuations via video calling.
Marketing of properties for sale or to let – The majority of advertising of properties is online so we do not envisage this being affected.
Viewings — At this stage it is impossible to predict but it might well be the case that it proves inappropriate or against Government instruction to be visiting homes for viewing. We are currently continuing viewings upon agreement by the viewer and property occupants. If circumstances arise where we are unable to undertake viewings, we will look to mitigate by producing video walk rounds of properties we currently have on the market.
Sales progression — We will be able to continue in the normal manner and by remote working. The extent of operation of other parties (solicitors, mortgage companies etc.) will remain to be seen and we will keep our clients regularly updated with developments.
Rent collection – From a rent processing point of view we are able to operate from our office and remotely and do not envisage any difficulties in collecting and passing rents to landlords as normal. However, we may experience a higher than normal issue with tenants being unable to pay their rent due to being unable to work. We will deal with this on a per case basis and keep you informed as to the situation but expect we will need to take into account the exceptional circumstances.
Property inspections / move in / checkouts – As the situation develops it may become clear that we are unable to do visits to tenanted properties as normal. We have taken the decision to delay routine property inspections as they are non-essential. We will continue to undertake tenant move ins and checkouts wherever possible and will keep the Landlord informed of any situations arising with their property.
Property repairs – Our ability to undertake our normal service levels on repairs may well be affected by contractors being unable or unwilling to visit our tenanted properties. Reporting and recording of issues will not be affected as our staff are contactable if working from home. Non urgent repairs may be delayed, with more urgent ones we will do our best to resolve given the resources we have access to and government guidelines as to the health of our staff, contractors and tenants at the time.
Conclusion – At this time its difficult to tell exactly how our business will be affected but we hope that the above details provides some reassurance that we are well prepared. Please contact us if you any queries or concerns.
We wish everyone good health and look forward to getting back to normal as soon as possible.