The housing market has been excluded from the national lockdown, avoiding a repeat performance of the damaging first pandemic deep freeze.
Although the full details of the lockdown are be revealed later this week, on Saturday Housing minister Robert Jenrick revealed – characteristically on Twitter – “that ‘the housing market will remain open throughout this period. Everyone should continue to play their part in reducing the spread of the virus by following the current guidance”.
Letting agents will also still be able to manage their properties because tradespeople like electricians, plumbers, repairers of domestic appliances can enter your home, Jenrick also revealed.
“They will need to follow social distancing guidance that has already been published.”
He also later tweeted that renters will also be able to move home and that both removal firms and estate agents will be ‘able to operate’ although his press spokesperson would not elaborate on whether branches can remain open and an announcement on this will follow in next few days.
Mark Hayward, Chief Executive, NAEA Propertymark (left), says: “We welcome the news that the housing market is to remain open throughout this second lockdown period, and it is essential that all agents continue to play their part in reducing the spread of the virus through following all relevant guidance.
“Agents must operate in accordance with government and Propertymark guidelines, to keep the market moving through these uncertain times.”
Agents who still have staff on furlough will also be able to take advantage of the extended jobs retention scheme until the beginning of December. As before, this will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 and employers will pay employer.
Iain McKenzie (left) CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals, says: “Now more than ever, it is crucial for estate and lettings agents to promote their Covid-secure-policies and display the measures they are taking to ensure the public’s safety,” he advises.
“Given the current situation and the fact that the daily number of Covid cases is rapidly on the rise, people are going to be far more cautious with regard to the businesses they engage with. People will want to work with an agent that is following the guidelines and placing the health of their customers first.”