We hope that you and your family have all kept safe and well during this time.

Good news from the government that the housing market has been given the green light to re-open but this is under strict conditions going forward and working practices will be different for the foreseeable future.

We have been working remotely during this time, but this does now mean that we can plan and look to reopen our office to the public.

Being one of the early sectors to be allowed to re-open there will be a very close spotlight on all agents to make sure they comply with the restrictions put down by the government and we are very keen to make sure that we can demonstrate this.

Central to Gallant Richardson’s plan to look after our clients and tenants is their safety and the safety of our staff.

Whilst we will be working hard to make sure we are doing the best possible job for you there will be, due to the restrictions, some limitations on how we operate. We hope to, at some point, have our office fully open but to begin with this will be limited to booked appointments where we can control the number of clients visiting at any one time.

If you need to come to the office, we will be delighted to see you but if you could please check in advance so we can make sure the correct member of staff is available, as the number of staff able to work at any one time will be restricted.

Appraisals:

Valuations can be undertaken at the property, but agents, should as far as possible, use virtual methods to inspect a property.

No valuation should take place in a property where any person is showing symptoms of coronavirus, self-isolating or shielding. It should be confirmed that properties are hazard free.

Staff should take all the necessary protection where entering a property, e.g. face masks, gloves and shoe covers.

Where meeting a vendor or landlord at a property the social distancing should be kept at all times.

Viewings:

The government guidance is to encourage virtual viewings as much as possible. With an empty property we can conduct this live via our smart phones to viewers. With occupied properties the person living there, either seller or tenant, can conduct a virtual viewing direct to the viewer.

Please bear in mind some tenants are happy to do this, but some are not and unfortunately, we are reliant on their co-operation.

We can now conduct physical viewings, if all safety precautions are followed including social distancing but ONLY if a virtual viewing cannot be done or if they have virtual viewed and are serious about proceeding with the property. If the property is occupied, then again, we do need the co-operation of the occupier and they will have to re-locate for the viewing for us to comply with the social distancing regulations.

Property Sales:

Most solicitors are working remotely so current sales can be progressed although there are delays in the system. The good news now is surveyors and other property professionals can visit properties so mortgage surveys and removals can now take place. We will continue, where possible, to conduct virtual viewings but will carry out personal viewings when necessary following the government guidelines. Should you require a property valuation then this can be arranged in person although again following the government guidelines for our industry.

Check-in of tenants:

Presently we are providing a new tenant the keys and a copy of the inventory. They sign one copy of the inventory which we will bring away with us, but a second copy is left with them to read and check through. This must be signed and returned to us within 10 days otherwise the copy they have already signed will become the approved inventory. As soon as the guidelines permit, we will aim to return to reading though and checking the inventory in person with the tenant but under the current government guidelines that is not feasible.

Check-out of tenants:

Currently we will continue to carry out check outs after the tenants have left and keys have been returned. We will aim to return to personal check-outs as soon as the guidance and safety advice permits.

Before conducting a check out we will be checking with all departing tenants that they are not currently suffering with the virus or have possible symptoms. If they do then any entry to the premises will be delayed until we are happy it is safe from infection.

As in normal times we will report back from a check out as quickly as possible in order for a property to be ready for any new tenant moving in.

Mid Term Property Visits:

We are aiming to return to mid-term property visits as part of our management service from early June but with the government emphasis on reducing contact we aim to provide these routine checks every four months instead of every three.

We expect some tenants will continue to be nervous about allowing access and government guidance is we must respect this and not push the issue. In this situation we can request a video inspection but obviously this has limitations.

Where we are allowed access the standard Coronavirus health and safety procedures must be followed.

Contractors and Third Parties:

Tradespeople are now permitted to enter properties and undertake work as long as they follow the governments safer working guidance. We will be contacting all contractors we use reminding them of this and asking them to make sure they aware of the guidelines and compliant.

If tenants refuse access because of their fear, or because they are showing symptoms, self-isolating or shielding then we will make a record of this to demonstrate that we have attempted to carry out the work. This includes mandatory works such as Gas Safety and Electrical Safety.

For more information please do not hesitate to contact us.