Sales: Open House is a trading name of Countrywide Estate Agents, Registered in England Number 00789476, Registered Office: Greenwood House, 1st Floor, 91-99 New London Road, Chelmsford, Essex, CM2 0PP.
Copyright © 2020 Countrywide plc
For added peace of mind, we thought we’d put together some advice & FAQs which might help to answer your queries or concerns at this difficult time.
We have now opened the majority of our High Street branches in England & Scotland & in accordance with Government guidelines designed to protect our colleagues and customers. Please contact us by telephone or email before visiting to check we are open and that a colleague will be available. Where your preferred office is yet to reopen we are covering appointments remotely. Please remember that you are required to wear a face covering whilst visiting our offices. You are able to check-into our offices in England & Wales using the NHS COVID-19 App. We will also request your details for Track and Trace purposes.
Our offices in Wales will close from 6pm Friday October 23rd until Monday November 9th as a result of fire break lockdown restrictions introduced by the Welsh Assembly.
Yes, with exception of property in Wales, you can. And your safety and that of any incumbent tenants is our first priority. That is why; however you would like us to carry out a Valuation we have the tools to help you. We can visit your property to carry out a safe and socially distant valuation, but we also recognise that for some Landlords you may not want an agent in your property. We can still offer you an accurate valuation remotely based on the latest market conditions. Please use the “Get a free valuation” icon on our website or contact your local branch, we are here to help, however you want to move forward.
This is one of the things that has not changed significantly. We will make sure that your property appears on all of the property portals, Rightmove, Zoopla, and Prime Location. Your property will also appear on our Websites. Remember that 90% of people start their house search online and with more people at home this may well increase. We still have new tenants registering with us every day and we are carrying out viewings in a safe and socially distant way at the property and virtually where we cannot facilitate this. Given the current significance of appearing appealable online if you haven’t you may want to consider our Premium Marketing Pack.
Yes –We are helping to safely rehouse tenants in rising numbers.
Yes - Virtual viewings should be used whenever possible to help limit the number of viewings you need to arrange. Prior to the appointment we will provide you with details of how it will be conducted and what is required to help keep everyone safe.
Likely impact to the UK's housing market is as yet unknown. We continue to monitor activity within the lettings sector to and keep our clients as fully informed as possible.
Not at present. – Sales of RLP policies through our offices have been suspended whilst the policy underwriter assesses under what conditions the product can be re-introduced. This approach mirrors that seen across a number of insurance products in the market.
We are hopeful that sales will commence at the beginning of October. Please contact your local branch for further information.
Yes – Rent remains payable. There is no automatic suspension of rental payments during the Pandemic.
We have advised tenants that if they are having trouble paying rent then they should discuss this with you as soon as possible. Where payments are made to us, your tenant has been advised to Chat with us on our website or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to speak with someone, please contact your local property management team.
Yes – Government has confirmed that: ”landlords and tenants should work together and exhaust all possible options – such as flexible payment plans which take into account a tenant’s individual circumstances – to ensure cases only end up in court as an absolute last resort”.
This will understandably depend on the landlord's personal circumstances but there is an expectation from govt. that landlords will, where possible, agree to payment plans. In agreeing to a payment plan rent is not waived but delayed by an agreed amount for a set period of time. The balance is either repaid on an agreed date or spread over the remaining period of the tenancy. An unreasonable failure to do so could prejudice a landlords’ ability to gain possession.
You should defer to your cover provider to establish details of any restrictions applicable to your policy as a result of the current crisis. If you have arranged cover through us then please email email@example.com.
Yes – The stay on possession proceedings ended on September 20th. Proceedings involving excessive rent arrears and anti-social behaviour are being prioritised.
In England notice under Sections 21 and S8 of the Housing Act has been extended to 6 months until March 31st 2020. A number of exceptions apply, including reducing the notice period to 4 weeks under Section 8 where a tenant is more than 6 months in arrears. Please ask your local branch for further information.
Notice periods in Wales remain at 6 months.
No – A ban on evictions remains in place until March 2021.
Yes – Your tenants can give notice by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. When we have received their notice, we will contact you to let you know.
Yes – Supporting tenants and landlords in the properties we manage remains a priority. Landlords and tenants can contact us on the usual property management telephone number.
The easiest way for tenants to report repairs is through our website. They will also receive helpful advice on what to do in an emergency. Our property management centres work with an extensive bank of contractors. At the date of this update, most are working as normal and therefore able to undertake essential maintenance and safety inspections.
With properties managed by us, the contractor will call the tenant directly to arrange access to help ensure the safety of all concerned. Tenants should advise them of any self-isolation or illness within the household. When providing access, social distancing protocols should are observed. If the tenant is transferring keys they should do so in a secure envelope ensuring they are sanitised before and after use. Where keys are held at our local office they can be collected by the contractor by prior appointment.
Where the property is managed by us, we are reminding tenants that renewal of the annual Gas Safety Record is an important part of keeping them safe in their home. Government has confirmed that tenants should, where it is safe to do so, allow access for inspections to take place.
Your tenant should where reasonable and safe, continue to allow access for repairs and safety inspections. If access is refused then efforts to undertake repairs and carry out safety inspections should be carefully documented and regularly followed up until the work has been completed.
Subject to local lockdown restrictions we have recommenced our usual cycle of routine property inspections. As we work through the inevitable backlog please do not hesitate to contact your property manager if you have any individual concerns.