Our Latest Covid 19 Policy 18th May 2020

WILKINS VARDY RESIDENTIAL LIMITED

OUR COVID-19 HEALTH AND SAFETY POLICY

 

INTRODUCTION

As we return to our workplace, the most important fact is to ensure we continue to safeguard everyone who we work with, and for.

In order to minimise all possible risk of a second spike of the virus and a further lockdown, we have made changes to our processes, our working environment and how our team operates.

The following sections outline how we have achieved this.

SECTIONS

1  PEOPLE

2  PREMISES

3  VALUATIONS

4  VIEWINGS

5. COMPLIANCE

6  SUMMARY

 

SECTION 1 - PEOPLE

We will check on the health of the people working for us. We will have a one-to-one with each member of our team to establish they are ‘healthy’ to return to work and complete a ‘health assessment’ form with each of them.

As part of our morning meeting, we will carry out a daily check-in within our team to ensure no health conditions have changed.

 

SECTION 2 - OUR PREMISES

We will have prepared our office. When our team return, we will accommodate the two-metre social distancing rule, this may mean fewer ‘desks’ or work stations to allow this to happen. We will mark out the floor space to allow any customers or visitors to keep to the two-metre rule and we will limit the number of visitors to one party of two at any one time. We intend to keep face-to-face contact to a minimum and where possible, our staff will work side-by-side with a minimum two-metre distance between them, rather than facing each other.

If necessary, we will be installing screens on some desks to allow for customer interaction, while maintaining  protection  for  all  parties.  This  decision  is  made  taking  into  consideration location, expected footfall and business operation model. We will designate desks to be used for talking to customers and ensure they are cleaned after each visit.

As our office will have been empty for several weeks it will require a good deep clean. We will arrange this before any staff return and cover all areas including the kitchen, staff room, toilet, fridge, microwave etc.

We  have  purchased  an  ample  supply  of  hand-gel,  anti-bacterial  wipes  and  sprays,  soap, tissues. We will always make sure that these are readily available on each desk for staff, visitors and customers to use.

We will have a regular cleaning routine throughout the day. This will include: desks, chair arms, keyboards, mouse, screens, staplers, pens, photocopier controls, drawer handles, phones, mobile phones, key cabinets, filing cabinets, door handles and card machines where we take card payments.  Staff will be encouraged to keep  their own work space clean and provided with the appropriate cleaning materials.

We will also encourage staff to wash their hands with hot water and soap more frequently than before and make sure supplies are stocked up in washrooms, along with clean towels.

We  may  keep  the  front  door  locked  so  that  we  can  control  the number visitors,  this  will  provide  extra  assurance  to  both  our  team  and visitors.

Our business owners will lead by example and keep social distancing measures in place all the time. This includes when conducting morning meetings,  when  preparing  refreshments,  visits  to  the  lavatories  and allocating lunch breaks, all of which will be staggered

 

SECTION 3 – VALUATIONS

Estate Agency is a ‘people’ business and requires interaction with sellers, buyers, applicants, and contractors to name but a few. How can we provide a safe environment for all concerned?

We will continue to offer our digital valuation and viewing options. This enables us to complete a valuation in accordance with the seller’s instructions, virtually.

Where  a  face-to-face  meeting  is  required,  we  will  assess any  risk  associated  with  each  individual  visit  and  confirm  that  we  have  also  carried  out  an assessment of our team member visiting you. Remember, this is a two-way process so please make sure you disclose to us any symptoms when we ask you, in the same way that we would ensure that anyone we send to your property is free from such symptoms. This is designed to reassure everyone involved. All staff have been advised to never attend a valuation appointment if they are feeling unwell.

Where  we  do  conduct  a  valuation,  we  will  respectfully  avoid  any  handshaking  or  physical contact, keeping our two-metre distance, and wear protective gloves. We may use face masks if recommended by the government, and of course will, if these are made mandatory.

We  will  demonstrate  all  our  marketing  via  digital  resources  rather  than  leaving  any  paper documents at your property, all of which will be followed up by email.

This goes against the ‘grain’ for us, but we will keep any face-to-face contact to a minimum and respectfully decline any coffees/refreshments you may be kind enough to offer.

We will demonstrate all our marketing via digital resources rather than leaving any paper documents at your property and will deliver this by video link when we return to the office.  This may be by Zoom, Whatsapp or Facetime.  Alternatively we will telephone you or send an email.  We will ask which delivery method you prefer.

We will explain to you the actions our firm are taking to reduce the risk of spreading Coronavirus –

reassuring you is paramount to us.

When we return to our vehicles after each appointment, we will safely dispose of our gloves and use hand-gel to give our hands a good wash. We will also wipe any equipment we have used during the visit.

When we arrive back at the office, we will be sure to wash our hands with soap and hot water before we do anything else. We will introduce signs around the office to ensure there are plenty of reminders.

At the end of each day and after our last appointment we will give our steering wheel, gear lever, handbrake, and all controls a wipe down with anti-bacterial wipes.

Where we receive an instruction to sell a property, we acknowledge that all other aspects of our legal obligations are still in force.

EPCs can continue to be provided if no COVID-19 issues exist and the assessor operates in

accordance with Public Health England guidance.

 

SECTION 4 – VIEWINGS

We will make full use of our virtual viewing tools and only arrange full viewings where the buyer is genuinely interested in the property.

We will always carry out the health-check on all viewers intending to visit the property.

We will ensure we find out who will be attending the viewing and limit the number of people to no more than two at any one time. Where possible we would ask the owner(s) and their family to vacate the property for the duration of the appointment, which we will do our best to limit to 15 minutes.

If the property is occupied, we will check on the health of the seller and all those in residence before arranging the appointment.  Where possible we would ask that only one owner accompany the viewer around the property, maintaining social distance.  The remaining household occupants to retire to another room.  All prospective viewers will be advised to bring their own PPE/hand sanitizer.  The vendors will be advised to open doors prior to the viewing to avoid unnecessary contact.  After the viewing, we recommend the vendor cleans door handle etc with normal household cleaning products.

Where  a  physical  viewing  does  takes  place, which we conduct,  we  will  respectfully  avoid  any  handshaking  or physical contact and remember to keep our two-metre distance. We will wear protective gloves and avoid any paper documents. We may use face masks if recommended by the government and of course we will do so, if these are mandatory. As our agent will be wearing protective gloves, only the agent will be permitted to open doors to show potential buyers the rooms and storage etc.

When we return to our vehicles after each appointment, we will safely dispose of our gloves and use hand-gel to give our hands a good wash. We will also wipe any equipment we have used during the visit.

If the property is vacant and we are using a key, we will wipe the key when it is taken from the key cabinet, wipe it after the viewing and again before it is placed back in the key cabinet. We will never travel in the same car as anyone else, always meeting viewers at the property.

 

SECTION 5 – COMPLIANCE – AML

We are still required to complete your legal requirements to confirm the identity of sellers and buyers.  This should be completed before a business relationship commences.

Using  our  own  AML  platform,  we  are  able  to  action  an  electronic  search  if  that  is  the  only check required.

If we do need to take actual documents, the requirement is that this is completed where we can see the individual and the document at the same time – we will wear protective gloves when handling paper documents.

If customers  are  visiting  our  branch,  we  will  assess   their  health  before  they are  permitted  into  the  office.  If  they  have  previously  done  so,  we  will  check  there  has  been no change.

Any face-to-face visits in the office will only be undertaken where two-metre social distancing can be adhered to, or behind a designated desk with a protective screen.

HMRC have not provided any provision where none of the above is possible for health reasons, therefore, we suggest that we arrange a FaceTime or Zoom meeting to see both the individual and the document. In this case we would like you to scan across documents and we will clearly certify the method of testing we have used and the reason why.

As soon as possible, we will then arrange a face-to-face inspection and update our records. Our Money Laundering Officer will always sign off any request to proceed on this basis. This will only be used as a last resort and we would have to proceed with caution on any high-risk individual. If we are in any doubt, then we cannot proceed with the business relationship. We would have to refer to our Money Laundering Policy, keeping a clear note of all cases so that we can review them once restrictions are lifted in full.

 

SECTION 6 – SUMMARY

It is our sole intention to demonstrate a safe way to return to work, servicing our clients with health and safety as our primary concern. We welcome any further suggestions and will continue to review this policy to ensure it remains stringent. We thank you for doing business with us and appreciate you working with us under these new ways of operating, during this unusual period.

Our Latest Covid 19 Policy