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Antony Antoniou – Luxury Property Expert

Back-To-Work guidance for agents expected this week

Back-To-Work guidance for agents expected this week

The chief executive of NAEA Propertymark says he expects specific government guidance later this week for estate agents to return to work safely.

This follows the shock of yesterday’s 50-plus page document on return to work guidance which failed to address any agency-related issue.

“I was disappointed that the Prime Minister’s announcement didn’t contain any answers for estate agents” Hayward tells Knight Frank in an interview for the agency.

“We are in daily contact with the government and I am cautiously hopeful that there will be some sector-specific guidance this week. We are hopefully moving closer to something that resembles a functioning marketplace.”

Hayward says he expects the guidance, which will come from the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government, will answer questions that many in the industry have.

“People are confused. If tradespeople are now allowed into the property, why not estate agents? The government is telling people to go to work if they need to, does that include doing market appraisals?”

He hopes there will be “some sort of slackening” of the rules and said leaked details from last week would hopefully form the basis of any announcement.

Measures under consideration included masks, hand sanitiser and alcohol wipes being required during viewings, which could be limited to two people plus the agent.

Other measures under discussion could mean owners or tenants are asked to vacate the building and those viewing would be asked not to touch surfaces. Also under discussion was the banning of open house events and limiting viewings to 20 minutes.

John Rockel, Head of Strategy and Operations at Knight Frank, says that while the resumption of business under social distancing restrictions would be challenging “it can be done safely for staff and customers and we’re ready for it”.

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