The new lockdown announcement on Saturday that further restrictions are being brought in wasn’t exactly unexpected as COVID cases continue to rise. The new set of national restrictions that come into effect on Thursday 5th November will now add even more pressure to both the economy, businesses as well as on a personal level.
And although it appears that the guidelines for the housing industry are somewhat similar to those imposed in March, they are changing almost hourly – so InventoryBase will continue to provide updates and guidance as soon as it becomes available.
So what do we know right now?
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has said on Twitter that: “The housing market will remain open throughout this period, but everyone should continue to play their part in reducing the spread of the virus by following the current guidance.”
For further guidance and a breakdown of the businesses that are to close during the 4 week lockdown visit Gov.uk – New National Restrictions from 5th November
So that everyone can play their part in containing the virus, the Government is advising that everyone who can work from home must do so. However, working from home is just not possible for inventory providers and the wider supplier chain as most if not all our work involves being in and around properties.
To be able to continue working safely and carry out our role of providing quality and robust property reports, COVID-secure guidelines must be followed closely with extra considerations given to those people at higher risk.
Preventative measures you should take include:
- hand washing regularly for 20 seconds (use sanitiser if out in the field)
- cleaning any surfaces you have touched
- spending as little time in the property that is practically possible
- reduce the number of people each person you have contact with by planning ahead for reports including picking up of keys
- checking whether anyone at the property (if occupied) is isolating and or have been advised to shield
- encouraging agents/landlords to adopt a 72 hour ‘barrier’ between checkout and carrying out the physical report
- communicating with all key stakeholders to minimise risks
- maintain social distances of 2m or 1m where you need to be in the same room as a colleague or other contractor
- Remember: wash your hands – cover your face – make space
Communication remains key – talk to your clerks, contractors, clients and staff so that everyone is supported, they all understand their obligations and that if there is an indication of infection that all the required protocols are carried out including utilising the NHS Track and Trace app where appropriate.
So how can we help support you during these difficult times?
InventoryBase has a range of support measures to help inventory providers which include latest information and updates on the crisis via our content hub.
We have extended the free use of our self inspections service until March 2021 – more details to follow, but you can find all the current user guidance and information by viewing our blog.
We’re also developing a cutting edge new feature which will make remote inspections even more effortless. Watch this space for more info!
With agents likely to utilise the extended furlough scheme to manage staff, it’s inevitable that some may require additional help with their reports and inspections during this second lockdown period.
InventoryBase Workstreams have a network of approved and vetted suppliers so that agents, landlords and providers looking to outsource can access reports on demand.
Our closed InventoryBase Academy Facebook Support Group has a large and growing number of nationally based inventory professionals who are actively supporting each other as we navigate through these turbulent times. The free-to-join group is specifically geared to clerks who are both new to the industry as well as seasoned professionals as we all need a bit of help sometimes.
And to keep you busy and up to date with all the latest training and guidance our InventoryBase Academy has a range of online free resources and CPD Accredited courses that include:
- Learn How To Produce Professional Property Reports
- Practical Property Reports
- Learn How To Dictate property Reports
- NSPCC Safeguarding Awareness
- Homes Fit For Human Habitation
- Legionella Risk Assessment
- GDPR For Inventory Professionals
Although clearly this is a worrying time for everyone on many levels and for inventory providers who are mostly self employed the restrictions add yet another layer of concern, there are positives to take from this situation.
The furlough scheme, which was set to end in November, has now been extended until the end of the national lockdown and mortgage payment holidays will be extended.
- Lockdown is only set for 4 weeks
- Renters are still allowed to move
- Clerks can still enter homes (following COVID-Secure guidelines)
The information contained in this blog is subject to change as we understand more and should be viewed as a guide only. For more information, see gov.uk.