The coronavirus pandemic has led to a new way of living, and we are still adapting to this as the UK continues to grapple with Covid-19. Working from home has become the norm for many, along with mask wearing, social distancing measures and enhanced hygiene protocols.
The same goes for property, where in-person viewings have been allowed since the property market reopened in mid-May – but with certain stipulations in place.
With this in mind, we outline how landlords can safely conduct physical viewings in the new normal.
Virtual viewings are recommended in the first instance. However, many prospective tenants may still wish to view their future home in person before committing to an offer, especially since this wasn’t possible for nearly two months.
In May, the government updated its advice on moving home during the coronavirus crisis to give tenants, landlords and agents clear guidance on how to carry out the process carefully. It stated that in order to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus, all parties would need to adapt safer practices and procedures.
The advice specifies that initial viewings should be done virtually wherever possible, while all physical viewings should be limited to members of the same household and open house viewings should not take place.
When physically viewing properties, tenants should avoid touching surfaces and wash their hands regularly. This also applies to any small children that may accompany them.
As the landlord, you should ensure your rental property is well-ventilated by opening all doors – the virus survives for less time outdoors and when fresh air is circulating – and cleaning surfaces often. All viewings must also be on an appointment-only basis, which means you shouldn’t accept someone turning up at your property off-the-cuff expecting to be let inside.
In addition, anyone involved in any aspect of the home moving process should practice social distancing, in line with the general public health information on limiting the spread of the virus. If you’re especially worried about the risk of infection when renting out your home, you should speak to your letting agent as they may be able to put extra measures in place.
It’s also good practice to wear gloves and masks/face coverings during viewings as a further safeguard against the virus.
It’s important that you work closely with your agent to ensure viewings are carried out in a safe and compliant way. If prospective tenants feel confident that you are adhering to safety measures, they will be more likely to focus on the home rather than worry about their infection risk.
Make sure you clean all surfaces in line with government advice after each viewing. For added assurance, you may also want to hire a professional cleaner in to give a once-over to your rental property every week or so.
While you might feel like three viewings a day can improve your chances of letting your property, this could provide more work for you and your agent in making it safe. Consider spacing out viewings – no more than one a day, for instance – to allow more time to clean your property thoroughly.
To reassure tenants when they visit, you could provide masks and gloves at the front door, as well as hand sanitizer when they enter and exit the home.
Remember to open all the internal doors and windows and allow easy access to handwashing facilities. Ideally, you should provide separate towels/paper towels for each person in the home, as well as your agent.
What’s more, the government expects agents to accompany clients on a viewing, following social distancing rules wherever possible. This can be made easier by ensuring corridors and walkways are free of obstructions, and, if possible, setting up your rental property to make a one-way system feasible.
If viewings are unaccompanied, your agent should make sure that all parties understand how they should conduct themselves. Lastly, once the viewing is over, towels should be disposed of safely or washed as appropriate.
The full government guidance on moving home safely during coronavirus can be viewed here.
Here at Target Location, we can help you to carry out viewings in a Covid-compliant way, improving your chances of finding suitable tenants and letting quickly. For more information on our services for landlords, please get in touch today.
To find out how much you could be charging in rent each month, you can use our free and instant online valuation tool.