Published: 05/11/2020The announcement from the Government that England will go into national “lockdown” from Thursday 5th November is obviously hugely disappointing although clearly necessary as radical action is required to stem the rise in the Coronavirus cases in an attempt to bring the spread of the virus under control.
The Government’s announcement of greater restrictions will, sadly, mean that many businesses will have to close until 2 December 2020. However, the property market and housing industry has been specifically identified to be allowed to continue to operate under the already strict guidelines and protocols previously introduced by the Government. This applies to Estate Agents, removal firms, surveyors and tradespeople, and includes permission for appointments for property viewings and valuations to continue in accordance with implementation of the Government Covid 19 practice guidelines.
The residential property market within which Peter James operate has been very active and recent volume of sales and lettings transactions have increased by levels not seen in recent years. The sales transactions have led to unprecedented pipelines being reported – despite lockdown – and these sales will be able to proceed as planned. Likewise all lettings activity continues at a pace.
As a result of increased activity in the sales market, important elements in the home buying/selling process (such as mortgage lending and conveyancing) has, unfortunately, failed to keep up with the increased volume of transactions resulting in the average length of time for a sale to complete extending significantly. The average sale transaction is now taking 26 weeks from the property being placed onto the market to eventual completion. This is a national statistic, however Peter James’ figures are more encouraging, but the trend is similar.
Our approach to conducting business within the Covid 19 Government guidelines and practice protocol has always placed the safety of our customers, clients and staff first and foremost and is at the heart of all and what we do.
In light of the most recent Government announcement we would ask that you arrange and book a timed appointment if planning to visit one of our offices, and wearing a face mask when doing so is absolutely essential. Wherever possible, personal attendance appointments should be avoided. Our main offices do remain open (in accordance with the up to date Government guidelines) but our office doors will remain locked. Therefore, if visiting, please knock and a member of our Team (wearing a face mask) will come and greet you. We also have hand sanitiser provision which we would ask that you kindly use the same upon entering our offices.
Appointments at properties are still being arranged and taking place but in accordance with the strict Government guidance and protocols. In the majority of circumstances we will insist that you have viewed the property “virtually” in the first instance, and following confirmation of this and subject to your continued interest, all buyers/tenants associated with any potential transaction should be present at the viewing.
We will fully explain the requirements of our procedure protocols at the time of booking viewings or valuations and everyone will be required to adhere and follow these for the benefit of everyone concerned. It remains our intention to keep our business operating as normally as we can, but any failure to follow our instructions (in accordance with Government guidelines) will unfortunately result in appointments having to be aborted and rearranged.
Whilst our main branch offices will remain open, other aspects of our business (particularly the Property Management Department) following our internal risk assessment will continue to work remotely. Peter James has made a significant investment in this respect since the first lockdown announcement on 23 March 2020 to ensure that business continues as normally as possible. Additional training programmes have been carried out for all staff affected including the implementation of new and more sophisticated IT and communication systems which have been designed to ensure flexibility and ability to meet the ever changing environment we find ourselves working within. Our hope and aim in doing this is to minimise any disruption to our Landlord or Tenant clients, and we sincerely hope that during this period you will not have noticed any negative change or reduction to our customer service, in which case, we will have achieved our objective.
We will continue to keep you updated as and when further announcements are made, along with advice on how we think they may impact on you.
We would like to extend our thanks to you for your continued understanding and assistance in helping Peter James deal, and comply, with the ever changing landscape that we are all facing at present. It goes without saying that we are always available to assist with any questions arising from the information provided within this communication and please do not hesitate to contact one of our Team if you require any further clarification or assistance.