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Minister rejects Labour call to ban in-person rental viewings

Christopher Pincher says safety guidelines agreed last year enable safe viewings if they are followed by agents, viewers and landlords.

Nigel Lewis

property viewings

The government has rejected a request by Labour to ban in-person property viewings by home hunters within the private rental market.

Housing minister Christopher was asked the question via a parliamentary statement from opposite number Thangam Debbonaire.

She asked Pincher to consider the merits of stopping in-person viewings of rental properties until the current lockdown ends, hopefully in May.

This is Labour’s second attempt to get property viewings on the political agenda – leader Keir Starmer proposed in January that all viewings should be halted in a bid to reduce Covid cases.

He said allowing property viewings was giving out ‘mixed messages’ to the public who are confused that they can’t meet friends in their gardens but can view strangers’ homes.

In reply to Debbonaire (pictured), Pincher stuck to the government’s existing Covid line, agreed back in July with the key trade organisations including Propertymark and RICS.

“It is important that people who need to move can do so and home viewings are an essential part of the home moving process,” said Pincher.

“Where viewings are taking place in rented properties, tenants’ safety should be the priority of letting agents and landlords.

“Initial viewings should take place remotely where possible, and only those seriously interested in the property should view in person.

“Where in-person viewings occur, we advise that the current occupiers vacate the property in order to minimise unnecessary contact.

“Property agents and landlords should make sure viewers and occupants of the home understand how they should conduct themselves to protect their health and the health of others.”

Read the current viewings guidance from Propertymark.

March 3, 2021

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