Prior to re-opening, it is suggested that estate agents undertake a risk assessment. This should identify areas that require attention in order to comply with the following guidance.
Employees must not undertake property visits if they or the property occupants are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
Suggested steps to implement social distancing
Property and estate agents are encouraged to use video facilities as public viewings are still not allowed.
When conducting activities onsite in order to enable property listing, digital viewing, surveying, sale and rental of property (including property visits and landlord inspections), it is advised that the following precautions should be taken:
- The property has been fully vacant for seven days prior to any visits; or
- If the property is inhabited, ensure you talk to the occupant over the phone before visiting and confirm with them:
- If anyone in the premises is suffering from flu-like symptoms.
- If anyone in the premises has been diagnosed with COVID-19, or is self-isolating for any reason.
- If the answer to either is yes, you must call back and make arrangements in 14 days’ time, at the very least.
- If the answer to both is no, you should request that no member of the household is present inside the property during any necessary visit. If a member of the household is considered medically vulnerable (by virtue of age, underlying health condition or pregnancy), you should ask that they are isolated in an area of the property that you will not need to access.
- Estate Agency Staff visits should be conducted under strict hygiene requirements:
- Only one estate agent at a time may enter the property. No members of the public are allowed.
- It is suggested that estate agents should limit the number of times visiting a particular property to once if possible.
- Consider asking property venders to sign a declaration that they do not have COVID-19 symptoms and postpone viewings if the buyer/seller/agent develops signs of the virus.
- Consider advising sellers to open all doors and turn on light switches, and then wait in the garden or go out while the agent views the property without touching anything.
- Homes must be cleaned before and after every viewing by the vender.
- Consider washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser before you enter the property.
- Consider wearing disposable gloves wherever possible.
Provide clear guidance for employees
- Regularly remind staff of social distancing measures that are in place on visits to inhabited properties and to wait seven days after a property has been vacated before visiting.
- Share regular and visible written or verbal communication of government messages.
Wherever possible workers should travel to properties alone using their own transport and where possible, avoid sharing company cars.
If company cars are shared amongst employees, it is advised that all high-touch areas (such as handles, gear sticks, steering wheel) are all wiped down with disinfectant spray/wipes between uses.