London multi-branch agency Dexters says it had been expecting more stringent Covid rules for estate agents during the looming lockdown when Boris Johnson made his announcement on Friday.
The firm’s 70 offices will continue to be closed to public walk-ins, a policy it has followed since May, although booked-in visits by clients will be allowed, as will physical property viewings.
But Ministers have yet to confirm whether estate agency branches count as ‘essential’ or ‘non-essential’ retail under the detailed guidance to be announced before Thursday.
This will include whether travelling to work at a branch is ‘essential travel’.
Many agents argue that, particularly if they operate in lettings, branches need to be staffed and open so that tenants, colleagues, landlords and contractors can pick up keys for properties.
Dexters says that when clients do need to (or request to) enter a branch, the company is to implement very strict social distancing and hygiene rules.
High risk groups
It also says staff who do work in branches will be restricted to those who can cycle or walk to work, and who are not from high-risk groups.
But otherwise it intends to offer a full sales, lettings, new homes and other seller and landlord services to customers across London, ‘as encouraged by the Government’.
“Property sales and lettings in London are exceptionally busy at the moment and throughout November we will be working with all of our customers, many of whom are relying on us to help them move home before the end of the year,” says its CEO Andy Shepherd (pictured, above).
“We are confident that our business can continue serving customers and employing people whilst also ensuring that closed offices, shielding and social distancing support our effort to ensure that the virus doesn’t spread.”