Welsh Government have this lunch time updated guidance on moving homes in Wales. The main point that they have clarified is the definition of a vacant property. They have also continued to stress that occupied properties should not be viewed, and have once again spelled out the importance of virtual viewing before physical viewing, the important of social distancing, and they are keen to stress that physical viewings of any property should only happen if absolutely necessary.
Physical viewings should only take place where the property to be viewed has been unoccupied for at least 72 hours, or has been deep cleaned. The following advice on prioritising virtual visits, hygiene measures, maintaining social distancing at all times and avoiding contact where possible should be followed.
You should use virtual viewings before visiting vacant properties in person, in order to minimise public health risks by ensuring you are visiting only those properties that appear to be most suitable to meet your needs and desires. Physical viewings of vacant properties that have been unoccupied for 72 hours or deep cleaned should only take place where absolutely necessary.
If you are tenant, your landlord and/or their agent cannot arrange physical viewings of your home whilst you are occupying that property. Where your tenancy agreement has come to an end, landlords and/or their agent can only arrange physical viewings once you have vacated the property with all of your possessions and 72 hours has passed or a deep clean of the property has been undertaken.
Key points to consider are:
you should do your property searching online in the first instance
initial viewings should be done virtually and property agents should help you to do this
all physical viewings of vacant properties should be by appointment only
physical viewings of vacant properties should be limited to members of the same household, and ideally, where possible, the adult members of that household only (thereby limiting the number of visitors including children, viewing a property)
the landlord or agent can accompany the viewing, but must maintain social distancing at all times
no open house viewings should take place
the agent must travel separately to the property from the household viewing the property, no car sharing
when physically viewing vacant properties you should still avoid touching surfaces, wash your hands at the earliest opportunity following the visit and bring your own hand sanitiser
viewings of empty rooms in houses of multiple occupation or shared accommodation should not take place
once the viewing has taken place, the landlord or agent responsible for accompanying the viewing should ensure surfaces, such as door handles, are cleaned with standard household cleaning products and towels disposed of safely or washed as appropriate
From 22 June 2020, you can move home, but we recommend that if the property you are moving to has not been empty for at least three days, that it is deep cleaned before you enter it.
These moves do not involve different households being inside a property at the same time, so the risk of transmission of coronavirus is lower.
Putting your home on the market
You can put your home on the market, but potential buyers or tenants cannot view your property in person if you are living in it or it is occupied.
Marketing of occupied properties can begin. Valuations and other related activities should be carried out in line with safe working requirements. Initial viewings can only be carried out virtually. Marketing and viewing of unoccupied properties can take place.
You can view a property if it is unoccupied and has been empty for at least three days, or it has been thoroughly cleaned. It is important viewings do not involve different households being inside a property at the same time because this increases the risk of coronavirus being transmitted.
You can view unoccupied properties in person but you must follow physical distancing guidance and keep good hand hygiene.
You cannot view occupied homes (where someone is still living). Virtual viewings of a home can be provided by a letting agent, estate agent or landlord.
Moving from Wales to England
You can move across the border to England.
If you are moving into Wales, we recommend you should only move to properties which have been empty for at least three days or have been deep cleaned.
Moving more than five miles away from where you live
You can move more than five miles away from where you live but we recommend you should only move to properties which have been empty for at least three days or have been deep cleaned.
Allowing estate agents, surveyors or removal workers into your home
Estate agents, surveyors or removal workers are allowed into a property. They need to follow the physical distancing in the workplace guidance.
Visiting estate and letting agent premises
Estate and Letting Agents are allowed to open but we encourage them to minimise the need for people to visit their offices in person, but if you do, they will need to ensure you do so in accordance with the workplace guidance for employers and employees.
Visiting new build housing site sales offices
Sales offices are allowed to open but we encourage them to minimise the need for people to visit their offices in person, but if you do, they will need to ensure you do so in accordance with the workplace guidance for employers and employees.
Following the announcement from Welsh Government on Friday 19th June, the property market in Wales is beginning to re-open. This is what it means:
Viewings of vacant properties will now be allowed in Wales. This means that a selection of our available properties will be able to be viewed from Monday 22nd onwards. For viewings, we will reqiure all interested parties to complete our Covid-19 Health Assessment that can be found here. We also have in place PPE such as masks, gloves and overshoes while there will also be plenty of hand sanitiser. Viewings will be limited to 15 minutes where possible, with a maximum of two viewers per property with the accompanying agent - all respecting the current 2m social distancing rules.
PUTTING YOUR PROPERTY ON THE MARKET
We will now be able to visit your property for valaution purposes and once instructed, to prepare the property for marketing. This invovles the full measure up, photos and video. Having not visited any properties since the lockdown began, we are now working through a backlog of those that we were preparing back in March, and are fully available to take on more enquiries.
SURVEYS AND VALUATIONS
As well as market appraisals mentioned above, we are also able to resume our full service of property valuation and survey. Valuations could include those for Probate, legal purposes and Help to Buy valuations while we continue to offer HomeBuyer Survey Reports. Once again, we are working through a backlog here but are now fully available once again for new bookings.
If you want a visit from one of the team for a full market appraisal, or should you need a valuation or HomeBuyer Survey report, please don't hesitate to contact us via email or on 029 2070 2622.
More information on this can be found by using the following links:
We are trying our best to maintain channels of communication between tenants, landlords and contractors in order to keep the service a smooth one. I’m sure that we can all appreciate that these are trying times and there is currently some guidance out there from the Government, mainly concerning Mortgage Holidays for landlords, and protection from eviction for tenants.
The main government support for Landlords is the encouragment for lenders to offer Mortgage Holidays. It is prudent to look into this on a personal level, with your lender, from what we understand, the idea of the mortgage holiday is just that, and that any break would need to be paid back through the term of the loan. There is some good information on the Money Advice Service website. The full Government advice can be found on their website here and is as follows:
The government is also committed to supporting landlords, and maintaining the positive partnership between tenants and their landlords. That is why, in addition to the measures outlined above, we have also agreed with lenders that they will ensure support is available where it is needed for landlords. Landlords will also be protected by a 3 month mortgage payment holiday where they have a Buy to Let mortgages.
Landlords remain legally obligated to ensure properties meet the required standard – urgent, essential health and safety repairs should be made.
An agreement for non-urgent repairs to be done later should be made between tenants and landlords. Local authorities are also encouraged to take a pragmatic, risk-based approach to enforcement.
As mentioned above, the main support for tenants in the protection from eviction. There is currently no legal protection or assistance for rent and are still legally obliged to pay rent. Landlords are able to take mortgage holidays, but his has potential implications for their repayments moving forward. Our best advice if you are a tenant and are struggling to meet a rent payment, as always, would be to raise any concerns over rent as soon as possible, with us, and we can have that discussion with the landlord.
In terms of tenant eviction, the period has now been increased from two months to three months with all ongoing eviction applications being delayed for 90 days and this is something that we imagine will be under constant review.
Again, the full guidance from the Government is as follows:
The government has brought forward a package of measures to protect renters affected by coronavirus (COVID-19). With these in force, no renter in either social or private accommodation will be forced out of their home.
To ensure all renters are clear on the full package of support that is currently available to them, we are bringing this together into one place.
From today (26 March 2020) landlords will have to give all renters 3 months’ notice if they intend to seek possession (i.e. serve notice that they want to end the tenancy) – this means the landlord can’t apply to start the court process until after this period.
This extended buffer period will apply in law until 30 September 2020 and both the end point, and the 3 month notice period can be extended if needed.
This protection covers most tenants in the private and social rented sectors in England and Wales, and all grounds of evictions. This includes possession of tenancies in the Rent Act 1977, the Housing Act 1985, the Housing Act 1996 and the Housing Act 1988. After 3 months if the tenant has not moved a landlord needs to apply to court in order to proceed.
From tomorrow (27 March 2020) following a decision by the Master of the Rolls with the Lord Chancellor’s agreement the court service will suspend all ongoing housing possession action – this means that neither cases currently in the system or any about to go in to it can progress to the stage where someone could be evicted.
This suspension of housing possessions action will initially last for 90 days, but this can be extended if needed. This measure will protect all private and social renters, as well as those with mortgages and those with licenses covered by the Protection from Eviction Act 1977. This will apply to both England and Wales.
Tenants are still liable for their rent and should pay this as usual. If they face financial hardship and struggle to pay this, support is available. In the first instance they should speak to their landlord if they think they will have difficulty meeting a rental payment, and in this unique context we would encourage tenants and landlords to work together to put in place a rent payment scheme. However we have also put specific measures in place:
· We are working with the Master of Rolls to strengthen the pre-action protocol requirement and also extend this to the private rented sector. This will help landlords and tenants to agree reasonable repayment plans where rent arrears may have arisen.
· We have already made £500 million available to fund households experiencing financial hardship.
· As part of the workers’ support package, the Chancellor announced the government will pay up to 80% of a worker’s wages, up to a total of £2,500 per month, where workers are placed on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
· Both Universal Credit and Housing Benefit will increase and from April, Local Housing Allowance rates will pay for at least 30% of market rents in each area.
With many bold headlines out there, we look at the implications of the Coronavirus pandemic and the potential next steps for the UK property market.
Many major media outlets are today reporting that the property market has been shut down by the UK Government. One example being here from the Guardian. Guardian Article. This explains that the Government have started to expand on their lockdown instructions by giving guidance to those in the process of moving. Despite the alarming headline, the article points to specific sections of Government advice, such as asking buyers and seller to adapt and be flexible in order to agree new moving dates at a more convenient time. This sounds very sensible and providing all parties in the chain want to work to the same goal, there is no reason why ongoing sales such fall through. The government points out that there was no need to pull out of transactions but both parties should try to agree a new date unless the property is empty, and that banks and lenders should play their part by extending mortgage offers where possible. Of course, homeowners should allow no visitors to their homes for viewings or valuations and this is something that we would wholeheartedly agree with. Your safety, and the safety of your family and friends as well as our team is of paramount importance.
As an independent, family run estate agent, David Baker & Company pride ourselves on being small enough to be flexible and adapt quickly to the constantly changing landscape and give our clients the best advice possible to our clients. We are now fully working from home, and the market is on hold, but we are expecting things to get moving fairly quickly when this is over and restrictions are lifted.
We recommend that any home currently on the market remains on the market, so that you maintain a visible presence online. Of course, if it suits you to remove the property from the market for personal reasons then we would support you in that. Potential buyers may still be keeping an eye on the market and we are able to arrange remote viewings where possible.
For those wanting to explore their options, we are able to offer remote valuations either through a desktop report or using a video call servic such as WhatsApp, Facetime or Zoom – as with all our market appraisals, remote valuations are free of charge and come with no obligation.
Recent updates with the COVID-19 virus has meant a lot of employees are having to self-isolate and adapt to new work routines from home. With flexible working becoming increasingly popular and advances in technology that keep you connected with the office, working from home has never been easier. We delve into our top tips to help you perfect your working from home routine.
Create a dedicated workspace
It is important for your routine and productivity to have a dedicated space to work in. Working from your bed or the sofa might seem tempting, but you are likely to be less productive in the space you associate with relaxing. A home office is perfect, if you have one, but any consistent area with a table and chair will help you associate a home space with work. Have the right equipment and technology all set up and organised to help you remain focused. Try to find somewhere with lots of natural light, as this sends signals to your brain to help you feel positive and awake. Finally, if you can, close the door to eliminate distractions or have a rule with family to ensure you are left to concentrate when necessary.
Dress for work
To help you get in the right mindset, you’ll want to dress for the part. Wearing your pyjamas all day might seem appealing but taking the time to get dressed properly is not only better for your productivity, but your mental health too.
Structure your day
Implementing routine simplifies your day and makes it easier to keep yourself organised. You could start your day with checking your emails and creating a daily to do list while having your morning coffee. Consistency will make it easier to get into the flow of work.
Learn to communicate effectively
There are lots of different mediums to communicate and send information to people, such as instant messaging, emails, phone calls, video calls and more.
Learn to use each medium practically for what you need to achieve. Video chats are useful for meetings, while instant messaging is more useful for a quick question or update. Figure out which mediums are most practical for what you need to achieve and for the people you are communicating with.
Remember, working from home can feel isolating at times, so a quick video chat or phone call can make all the difference.
Breaks are vital to create a distinction between work and personal time. Just like working in an office, allow yourself a proper lunchbreak so you can walk away from your work area and have some time for yourself. Having a break will clear your mind, allowing you to get back to work with a fresh perspective and more energy.
Limit your work hours and stick to them
Working from home can mean your work can creep into your personal life, which can be detrimental to your productivity and psychological health. You are more likely to stay motivated when you set yourself work hours and stick to them. Create a mini routine for the end of the day, such as having a call with your manager or employees, to set a cut-off time.
We have taken the heartbreaking but responsible decision to close our Station Approach office - for the first time in 50 years!
Our committment to our sellers, buyers, landlords and tenants remains the same. We will be working from home, fully dedicated to achieving the best results we can. Should you need to speak to us, as an existing or new customer, please give us a call on 029 2070 2622, email email@example.com or alternatively email a member of the team directly if you have been dealing with them already.
David Baker & Company has attained the high standards necessary to be awarded with the property industry’s most prestigious mark of excellence.
On Thursday 10th October, over a thousand of the leading estate and letting agents from across the UK gathered at Battersea Evolution, London for a leadership conference, exhibition and awards luncheon, where the results of this year’s Best Estate Agent Guide Awards were revealed.
The results follow the largest assessment of the property industry, with the winners receiving their awards from TV’s Gabby Logan and Jonathan Davies.
Over 15,000 estate agencies are included in the assessment, which is conducted by Property Academy and the UK’s leading property portal, Rightmove.
Each office is scored against a unique set of criteria, using a combination of data analysis and mystery shopping, from which, the top 3% of agencies in the country are identified.
The Best Estate Agent Guide Awards are awarded for marketing, results and customer service.
Home-movers and landlords can search for those estate and letting agents that made the grade in their area by visiting bestestateagentguide.co.uk or by looking out for the distinctive winners marks.
We were delighted to be recognised for their dedication to providing the very highest levels of service. This is a massive pat on the back for the incredible amount of effort that the team put in on a daily basis and the care we take in being your Estate Agent of choice. Thanks to all the people and companies that have supported us, and all the lovely sellers, buyers, tenants and landlords that have chosen us this year.
David Baker & Company supported the Penarth u16 rugby team on their recent tour to France, where they performed admirably and came third! Despite feeling that they did enough to win the tournament, they came up just short but scored 25 tries and conceded only 2. They were unlucky losers, 6-3 in the semi-final, with close refereeing decisions
going against them. The final was contested by two local French teams but the boys acquitted themselves well. The tour was thoroughly enjoyed and was a great learning experience for the players involved. Aled Rees was also voted the best number 9 in the tournament in the coaches vote.
To finish the season, the team beat rivals Cowbridge 33-29 last Sunday in their final game!