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Surveyors ‘have been forgotten’ within government’s business aid packages

The Residential Property Surveyors Association says official calls for home moves to stop have left its self-employed members without income.

Sheila Manchester

Surveyors appear to have become victims of Government actions that have left many without financial support and forced to put the lives of themselves, their families and the community at risk.

The Residential Property Surveyors Association (RPSA), which represents independent surveyors, has written to Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak and MHCLG Secretary of State, Robert Jenrick criticising a double whammy of policy which excludes many from the self-employed financial support scheme, and which suggests that going into occupied homes to carry out surveys can still be considered safe.

The Association believes that the only sensible option is for Government to pause the progress of property transactions until Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted, and for tailored support packages to be put in place for Independent surveyors and other professionals in a similar plight.

No government help at all

RPSA Chairman, Alan Milstein, said, “Like tens of thousands of one-man band businesses, many surveyors operate limited companies and receive a combination of salary and dividends, an arrangement excluded from the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme announced by Downing Street yesterday.

“And, as most don’t pay business rates, they are denied grants or funding announced under the earlier support for businesses package. As small businesses the option to furlough themselves simply doesn’t exist. There are always administrative and maintenance tasks to be done.

“RPSA members are left completely outside any of the support schemes announced so far.”

Potential risk for surveyors

“Worse still, despite clear messages only to go out when absolutely necessary, Government Advice for home moving specifically highlights that urgent surveys can be carried out by surveyors, on empty properties or where the occupants are out and free of coronavirus.

“But the advice also suggests that going into occupied homes to carry out surveys can still be considered safe. So, which advice do surveyors follow? And how would one of our members reliably determine if a house has recently been occupied by an infected person?

“When Boris Johnson told us that Government would put their arms around all workers, we assumed that would include small surveyor businesses. But it seems not. Many of us have been left out of financial support, and are almost being encouraged to put ourselves in harm’s way. Our members deserve better than this.”

Visit www.rpsa.org.uk

March 30, 2020

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