The rental sector remains buoyant. Here’s an important update on how we’re staying as safe as possible in these troubled times.
2020 has not exactly been the best year ever.
Not only has the Covid-19 pandemic prematurely ended the lives of so many, this highly infectious disease has physically separated us from our loved ones, and taken away the things we like doing – like socialising, enjoying live music events, summer BBQs, mooching round the shops for no reason. Lots of good things. As well as daft things that are lots of fun anyway.
There’s almost no part of our lives that the Coronavirus hasn’t touched.
You may have been ill yourself or know someone who was hit hard by the virus. Perhaps you’ve been bereaved. If this is your story, please accept our deepest condolences first and foremost.
As we write, there’s a glimmer of hope: a vaccine is in the offing. Good news in a difficult, stressful era.
Business Bouncing Back
And there’s better news for the rental sector, too.
Like colourful seasonal flowers, the property industry sprang back into positive life from mid-May onwards. The freeze-frame picture moved again, which offered comfort and relief all round.
During lockdown, we took the sensible decision to keep working, of course, yet remotely – from the comfort of home offices, living rooms and kitchen tables. There’s always loads to do in a lettings business (you need attention to detail in spades), and Clarity was no exception. People were and are still searching for new homes. Properties were and are waiting for tenants to move into them.
And now, it’s “business as usual” as much as we possibly can make it so.
In fact, recent behavioural analysis statistics from Zoopla’s Brighton House Price Index show an upwards swing, not only in rental values, but also in demand. If you’re a landlord, or you have a property portfolio – no matter how small – now could be a good time to get in touch with us.
We’re still carrying out all our normal letting processes, including references and credit checks. Likewise, we’re looking after our landlords’ properties, as well as safeguarding our tenants to our usual high standards.
A key industry regulatory body has advised us that even as we go into a second lockdown, our offices can stay open. That is, as long as everything is Covid-secure and that nobody suddenly gets the urge to move desks. So, that’s fine.
The team here takes the safety and health of everyone around us extremely seriously. To be honest, nothing is more important. It’s our duty as human beings first and rental agents second to minimise risk.
Here’s our user-friendly guide to everything Coronavirus in our sector, as well some details of the practical things we’ve put in place.
OK, so here’s what can STILL happen:
- If you’re a tenant, you can move during lockdown, as long as you give notice, as per usual.
- With careful social distancing, inspections are allowed. However, the tenant must give permission. No agreement, no visit.
- Currently, there are no limits on distance, so both parties can travel outside an area in order to view a property.
- Cleaning services can still take place, assuming that risks are as low as possible. Again, you’ll need a “yes” from the tenant. Significantly, other essential works or maintenance are fine, too. This includes everything necessary for compliance, such as EPCs, gas safety inspections and electrical inspections.
Our Safety-First Precautions against Covid-19
Please rest assured that property viewings are continuing; it’s a vital part of how we work and what we do.
However, the team here is taking no chances, so we’re asking for your support to make absolutely sure we maintain these guidelines.
Where possible, less is more. Whilst there are no strict rules on the number of people viewing a property, in the case of HMOs for example, (houses in multiple occupation), large groups are NOT a good look. To be fair, an unbelievably bad idea and we may say “no” in this case . Above all, please use common sense.
Importantly, all viewers must be from one household.
Don’t hang around. We’re asking that viewings be kept relatively short to minimise contact time.
Social distancing. Obvious, but worth re-iterating. Please would all applicants stay 2 metres apart (unless you’re with someone in your “bubble”). We’re keen to safeguard the existing tenants and the owners, if they’re present on the day
Hygiene is key. Clean hands, please – for both applicants and those in the property. Use gel if there’s no hot water and soap nearby. And we’re asking landlords to organise for surfaces to be sanitised afterwards, if they have been touched.
Other quick points:
- Please wear a mask.
- Keep windows open during the visit if possible.
- No back-to-back viewings.
So, there we are. Clarity’s position as a responsible letting agent is unequivocal; we won’t take risks and would prefer to err on the side of caution for the good of everyone. Clearly, we’re living in a period of uncertainty but with care and attention, as the saying goes – we will prevail.
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