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Customer update 22/09/2020

Unfortunately, as we fear another lockdown either locally or nationally we feel another update is due as well as a clarification of a few items for all our property owners, tenants and contractors.

Viewings

Currently we provide videos for all our marketed houses but will avoid obtaining this until tenants have vacated. We start full marketing a week before the houses are empty. This has been working very well as many customers have already seen the house on our “coming soon” page so can apply beforehand.

Viewings can be completed but we will insist that customers wear a facemask, we will do so and have all doors open and lights on inviting you to walk around then ask any questions. We cannot currently provide any transport for customers.

Valuations

Should you prefer we can conduct these in your absence, given key access and will take care to touch a minimum of surfaces. If you would like to meet, we will wear a facemask and would prefer if you would do so also

Inspections

For now we cannot feasibly complete these but specific concerns or requests will of course be accommodated whenever possible. We were planning for these to re-commence soon but now feel that this cannot be the case.

Move in and move outs

We will continue to carry these out separately from tenants or owners. We have simple systems for this and it is working well. We carry out the check before the tenants move in and then after they move out. There is just a little more communication for us to complete but this is easily done via email or phone.

Our office

For now we will not be re-opening on a Saturday and will remain open for one customer at a time wearing a face mask during the week. We know this is frustrating but we have to do all we can to avoid having to shut the office again completely.

Internally we have added screens between staff members, hand sanitiser stations as well as regular cleaning and other measures as suggested by our risk assessment.

Legal changes during the last few months

The biggest change from Covid is that since 1st September property owners will have to give 6 months notice to regain possession not two months as previously. (section 21 notice)

Also since 1st July all new tenancies will first require an EICR (Electrical installation condition report) we can complete these for £150.00 including v.a.t.

The market in general

Post lock down has been the single busiest period we have ever had. Through July and August alone we took 122 tenancy applications! Things have eased off a little but it is still very busy we have people waiting for houses.

Overall, the situation is unclear as many Bae staff are being asked to work from home maybe into next year which is a concern. It also seems many others are still coming to work in the area for Bae, the NHS, local police and a range of other organisations.

There are very few houses available for rent overall and prices remain on the higher side as a result.

What will happen if there is another lockdown?

We are ready for this now, of course, it will not be easy but we can operate the business with the priorities being. Repairing any issues for tenants and collecting and paying rental funds for property owners.

We have the ability for staff to work from home and plan to work with a split team i.e. some within the office and some working only from home. Updates will be provided on our website and Facebook page.

All viewings and new property valuations would have to be cancelled on the assumption this is made a requirement by the government you are welcome to talk however as a rough valuation can still be provided.

Office calls will be answered and again we would ask that queries and requests are kept to a minimum as dependant on the extent of the lockdown some staff may be unable to work normally from home.

We ask that tenants will respect the contractors and open doors for them and ensure they have to touch as little as possible. We will require that they wear ppe.

We will delay all PAT testing none essential repairs and Epcs but try to continue with Gas safety checks where possible.

Last time some people did have issues with loss of income and if this happens, we will again speak to individual property owners but of course, communication is key.