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The government has updated its guidance on the safety measures currently in place when moving home in England, as it starts to lift its Plan B restrictions. The government is no longer asking people to work from home, meaning that letting and estate agencies are free to arrange staff returning to the office. From 27 January, face masks will no longer be legally required, but guidance still encourages their use in busy and enclosed spaces. As before, all planned moves and viewings can continue and tradespeople can continue to work in other people's homes, unless self-isolation restricts access to a property.
Mitigating risk for your agency
Estate and letting agents are encouraged to consider guidance on reducing the risk of Covid-19 when undertaking any health and risk assessments. Office workers, including estate agents that can work from home, should do so, unless a task must be completed in person, and lateral flow tests should be taken regularly in this instance, to help manage the risk. Everyone involved in the process of letting out a property, from letting agents and landlords to prospective tenants, is advised to keep up good hygiene practices, with hand washing and sanitising.
There are no limits on the number of people that can view a property, but virtual viewings are recommended before progressing to an in-person viewing if required, where masks should be encouraged. Thorough cleaning of properties and showing a property when vacant where possible are also advised, to reduce the risk of infection.
New self-isolation rules
Flexibility is still encouraged around anyone who may need to self-isolate. Everyone who tests positive for Covid-19 is still required to self-isolate. However, the guidance when moving home is now different for vaccinated and unvaccinated tenants aged over 18 years and 6 months.
If they are not fully vaccinated and someone in their household tests positive, they will need to self isolate.
If they are fully vaccinated, tenants don't need to self isolate if their housemates test positive, but are advised to take a lateral flow test for each of the following 7 days after being notified of the positive test.
For anyone isolating, it's now possible to leave self-isolation on the sixth day, after five days of isolation and with two negative lateral flow tests taken 24 hours apart. Self-isolation remains at the full 10 days for those without the negative test results.
If moving dates need to change due to someone in the chain being required to self-isolate, the government advises to "be as flexible as possible and be prepared to delay moves if necessary." The government has also advised that these are "the minimum best practices you should follow to help keep yourself and others safe", and therefore estate and letting agencies can choose to "issue their own supplementary guidance in order to protect their members and their clients."
Oh Goodlord Limited is an Appointed Representative of Goodlord Protect Limited for general insurance products and credit broking. Goodlord Protect Limited is directly authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority, registration number 836727. You can check this information on the Financial Services Register by visiting www.fca.org.uk/register or by telephoning 0800 111 6768 (Freephone) or 0300 500 8082 from the UK. The FCA is the independent watchdog that regulates financial services.