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Give estate agents more clarity on what is essential work, pleads leading industry figure

Ed Mead says the industry needs better advice and that the furlough scheme will have to be re-evaluated as the UK comes out of the crisis.

Nigel Lewis

estate agents

Senior industry figure Ed Mead has called for the government to give the industry more clarity on what is ‘essential work’.

He has also predicted that ministers will have to look at the furlough scheme as the crisis begins to ease in order to allow estate agencies and other businesses to plan how they are going to return to normal trading conditions.

This would include allowing furloughed staff to being working again but still receive some or all of their monthly government payments, and allow agencies to ease back to normality.

Mead says he temporarily suspended operations at his outsourced viewings company, Viewber, which uses the services of several thousand self-employed operatives around the UK, once the lock-down was announced, but would love to utilise them.

Crystal clear

But he says Viewber can’t because Ministry of Housing guidance has yet to be issued that is crystal clear about the work of estate agents and what is ‘essential’.

Currently, the advice is that: “Employers should take every possible step to facilitate their employees working from home. Where it is not be possible to work from home you can still travel for work purposes, provided you are not showing coronavirus symptoms and neither you nor any of your household are self-isolating”.

Asked what he thinks negotiators and valuers should be doing now, Mead says his experience, gained through several tough times including the 2008 financial crisis, is that no one remember what you did to them during a downturn, but “they always remember the feeling”.

“So in a disaster like this agents should be contacting customers to make them understand how sorry they are about what’s happening,” he says.

“It’s more important to find out how they are feeling, rather than just trying to transact – treat them like human beings.”

Watch the interview in full.

April 9, 2020

2 comments

  1. You are a long time dead, having experienced the deaths of six estate agents in the past week all of whom I know personally, anything that keeps people alive is in my view a good policy.

    Sweden is going for a different approach, and in parts of America, Realtors are considered to be essential or key workers, but movement of people is in my mind likely to result in more fatalities than reduce them.

    Money commerce and the ability to provide is essential, but not as essential as being able to wake up in the morning alive.

    Yes social distancing can be operated, but each time an agent gets into a car and goes to get petrol, get a sandwich, they are potentially endangering themselves and others. If you add a multiplier to this, soon you see why the number of people sadly infected and dying increases.

    • Andrew I completely agree.
      If they carried out the viewing and agreed the sale, firstly nothing will complete until September at the earliest. This due to valuations not being carried out, lending pretty much on-hold and most banks working on skeleton staff, solicitors working on similar measures, but then other services like removals not being available either.

      Just one other point, if you agreed the sale this week, caught corona-virus, passed it on to the others buying the house, then what good is the new home or the commission when you are no longer on this planet to enjoy it??

      The only part of the property business in operation should be inspections which can be done via video link with the tenant (and record if you know how) and emergency call outs.
      Stay at home, protect yourself, save YOUR life!

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