Trade body Propertymark has updated its Covid guidance for estate agents for the first time since late 2020.
The changes, which reflect the arrival of the Omicron variant, include guidance on isolation rules, face coverings, public access to their branches, quarantine rules, Right to Rent and ventilation of homes during viewings.
Changes have been made by the UK Government to household rules if individuals are vaccinated or unvaccinated and if contact has been made with others.
New rules also come into force today, 11 January 2022 for those that aren’t showing symptoms but get a positive lateral flow as they will now not need to take a confirmatory PCR and instead, automatically isolate.
Since the start of December, face coverings have been required by law in most indoor settings with estate and letting agents listed by the Government as places where you must wear a face covering when dealing with members of the public. Face coverings are strongly recommended on viewings.
Visitors to offices
Agents should ensure that signage is visible in brand and/or other communications are promoted to advise visitors that face coverings should be worn.
On 9 January 2022, the UK Government updated its guidance on travel to England which now requires automatic self-isolation for unvaccinated people entering the country and changes to what COVID-19 tests are required.
Right to Rent
Adjusted checks remain in place until 6 April 2022 when landlords and letting agents in England will revert to face-to-face and physical document checks.
In December, the Home Office announced that they recognise the benefits of the adjusted checking process and from April will enable landlords to use certified Identification Document Validation Technology (IDVT) service providers to carry out digital identity checks on their behalf for many who are not in scope to use the Home Office online services, including British and Irish citizens.
Following a letter to landlords in December last year from housing minister Christopher Pincher, advice has also been included on how to ensure good ventilation in properties to help reduce transmission of COVID-19.
“Propertymark wants to ensure that our members are equipped with the most up to date and valuable information to help them, their colleagues and their clients stay safe and limit the spread of COVID-19,” says Timothy Douglas, Policy and Campaigns Manager at Propertymark (pictured).
“Compliance with any new changes is crucial for agents and we would advise all our members to familiarise themselves with our updated best practice guidance so that they can play their part in the country’s recovery from the pandemic.”