On Monday the Welsh Housing market partially reopened, and today the Welsh Government has published detailed guidance setting out what landlords need to know about carrying out viewings at the moment.
The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Wales) Regulations 2020 have also been amended, meaning people in Wales who wish to move home can now do so.
The Welsh government is encouraging virtual viewings of empty properties in first instance. Physical viewings can take place, but only when homes have been vacant for 72 hours-however this does not apply to empty rooms in HMOs where a HMO already has other tenants in occupation.
NRLA Wales is hosting a live webinar for landlords in Wales TODAY at 2pm. Sign up here.
The new guidance published today states:
- all property viewings should take place virtually in the first instance
- where a physical viewing of a vacant property (which has been vacated for 72 hours or deep cleaned) is required, this should be by appointment only and be attended by people from the same household
- no speculative viewings should take place and open house viewings are not permissible
- no-one should be part of a property viewing if they are shielding, or if they are or have been displaying coronavirus symptoms in the last 14 days
- estate and letting agents should follow the workplace guidance for employers and employees. Marketing of unoccupied properties can take place (in line with relevant rules)
- marketing of occupied properties can commence. Valuations etc should be carried out in line with Keep Wales Safe – at work in other people’s homes guidance and using virtual viewings only
- agents can accompany viewings and should comply with the social distancing requirements throughout the viewing
- where viewings are unaccompanied, agents should make sure viewers understand how they should conduct themselves
- agents or landlords should not drive current or prospective tenants and prospective owners to the property viewing. The agent or landlord should make sure that all lights are on in the property and that doors are open, to prevent the customer from touching surfaces
- customers should be advised against touching surfaces throughout the property viewing, unless absolutely necessary. This is particularly relevant in furnished properties, where the risk of contamination of surfaces may be higher
- the length of time that a property viewing can be carried out should be minimised
- once the viewing has taken place, the landlord or agent responsible for accompanying the viewing should ensure surfaces, such as door handles, are cleaned with standard household cleaning products and towels disposed of safely or washed as appropriate. Shared access areas, for example shared front door access, should also be cleaned. You can get more information about cleaning in non-healthcare settings on GOV.UK.
- workplace guidance for employers and employees should be considered at all times
Guidance on Houses of Multiple Occupation
Viewings of empty rooms in otherwise occupied houses of multiple occupation (HMO) cannot take place. Home moves into HMOs are allowed, but government advice should be followed:
- tenants should not move into a HMO if any of the current tenants are self-isolating. Wherever possible, you should support tenants to verify this
- tenants should not move into a HMO if any of the current tenants are shielding. Wherever possible, you should support tenants to verify this
- tenants should not move into a HMO if they are self-isolating or shielding
Where a home move into a HMO is necessary and other people already reside at the property, additional precautions are necessary:
- good hygiene practices should be followed, and you should wash your hands regularly
- all hard surfaces should be cleaned with normal disinfectant – especially door handles, window handles, WC handles, taps, basins and work surfaces
- you should refer to the GOV.UK advice on cleaning and disinfection
The full guidance, which includes a section on entering people’s homes, can be read here.