(Please be sure to check Kings’ website and Facebook Page for all COVID-19 related updates)
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is a great concern for you and your families. At this time Kings Lettings wants you to know that the well-being of our valued customers, business partners and employees is of the deepest concern to us. With this in mind we have already and will continue to take measures to protect all parties we are in contact with. We value your business and our goal is to ensure that we continue to provide you with a high level of service during this uncertain time.
At 10pm Tuesday 12th May 2020, MHCLG put out a press release replacing a verbal confirmation by the Government, that the property sector (including Lettings Agents, Estate Agents, Surveyors, Block Management firms) may resume its work, as of Wednesday 13th May 2020. An excerpt of which, is below:‘’From today [sic] anyone in England can move home if they follow new guidance published by Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick.
Since lockdown restrictions were implemented in March, more than 450,000 people have been unable to progress their plans to move house.
All buyers and renters will now be able to complete purchases and view properties in person, while estate agents, conveyancers and removals firms can return to work while following social distancing guidelines.”
Jenrick said in the release:“Today [sic] I am announcing new guidelines to allow the housing market to resume. Our clear plan will enable people to move home safely, covering each aspect of the sales and letting process from viewings to removals.
“Our step by step plan is based on the latest guidance to ensure the safety and protection of everyone involved.
“This critical industry can now safely move forward, and those waiting patiently to move can now do so.”Steps we have taken:
- From Monday 18th May 2020, Kings’ offices will once again reopen, to clients, Tenants and members of the general public.
- In order to maintain the safety of our staff, our clients and members of the general public, the following steps and Government Guidance will be followed at all times.
-Kings staff have been provided with PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), to minimise the risk of transmission of any illness. This is intended to keep all parties as safe as possible.
-It is important that staff and/or customers to follow social distancing advice and wash their hands regularly. Social-distancing requires a minimum of 6ft/2m between any two individuals.
-We encourage the use of digital and remote transfers of material where possible rather than paper format, such as using e-forms, emails and e-banking.
-We will provide additional hand sanitiser and tissues and encourage staff, partners, clients and members of the general public, to use them. In addition, we will also provide sanitising spray (for use on keys etc. when collected or dropped off by clients, contractors and so on). These products should be used on any surface, item that has been touched by another individual.
-Where it is possible to remain 2 metres apart, we will use floor markings to mark the distance, particularly in the most crowded areas (for example, where queues form).
-Where face-to-face contact is essential, this should be kept to 15 minutes or less wherever possible.
-As much as possible, teams of workers who are together (cohorting), will be kept as small as possible.Additionally, for customer-facing interactions:
-We will use signage to direct movement, if feasible, while maintaining a 2 metre distance. We will mark boxes in each office designating where clients should be restricted to (these will be as close to the entry point as possible.
We will regulate entry into each office, so that the premises do not become overcrowded. We will allow a maximum of one client, in each office, at any one time (maintaining safe distance at all times).
-We will also use additional signage to ask customers not to enter the premises if they have symptoms.
-Confirming identification (Landlords, Applicants, Tenants) should be (where possible) carried out using video calls and we will still require sight and copies of the original documentation…However, any I.D. should be handled using latex (or similar) gloves.
-Confirmation of I.D. should be carried out in line with regulation in this respect, but with minimal contact.Viewings:
-Where possible, video viewings should be the ‘default’ first port-of-call.
-Where physical viewings need to take place, social distancing measures should be followed at all times (maintain a 6ft/2m distance between the negotiator and the viewer).
-Gloves should be worn by all parties in attendance at each viewing, and touching of surfaces should be kept to a minimum.
-Applicants will need to be asked whether they have any symptoms of illness, before being invited to view a property (this should be done in writing, by email prior to the appointment being confirmed.
-Applicants should not touch or come into contact with keys used at viewings.
-Staff must carry hand sanitiser with them, at all times.
-Do not carry hard copy paperwork with you, to viewings. All relevant information should now be emailed to applicants.
Applications/MDFs/general handling of signed ‘physical’ paperwork:
-Where possible, any ‘wet’ signed documents should be posted (either using Royal Mail/couriers or posted through the office door), to minimise contact.
-Any physical paperwork should be handled with gloves, and hands washed and sanitised before and after handling.
-Where possible, email/other should be used to communicate documentation.Take-ons/ Valuations:
-Where at all possible, Take-ons should be carried out on a non-contact basis. This means that keys should be delivered to us by Landlords/Tenants and immediately disinfected.
-Landlords should ideally not be present at the valuation/take-on. Where a Landlord wishes to be present, social distancing measures should be adhered to. In addition, (whether or not more than one person is present in a property) protective gloves should be worn by any attending parties.
-All documentation relevant to taking on a new property, should be emailed Landlords. Where a ‘wet’ signature is required, the guidance relating to the handling of hard copy paperwork, should be followed at all times.
All normal means of communication (email and telephone) remain functional, we are (at this stage) only taking steps to safeguard our teams, and ensure business continuity. We ask that you kindly email us as a first ‘port-of-call’, as our offices have been inundated with telephone queries.Delivering and Maintaining Client Service:
Despite the current concerns, business must continue as usual where possible. That means we are committed to giving you the high level of service that you expect. We have taken steps to ensure that the quality of our services carries through these trying times.
We will continue unabated in supporting and updating our website, office information, Facebook page and all other sources of information.
We are committed to ensuring that all of our products and services will perform to the high standards you have come to expect.
Our approach will evolve with the situation:
We are continuously monitoring events closely and are following guidance from local, provincial and Governmental health authorities, to ensure that our practices are aligned with the latest recommendations. We will also keep our lines of communication open to inform you of the latest developments.You can speak to us:
We are committed to being here for you: our offices are staffed, and on hand to deal with your enquiries, questions or concerns. You may experience slower than usual response times due to a high volume of calls but please be patient and know that we are committed to providing you with the best service we can.
We appreciate your understanding during these difficult times, and value your continued support.
****Note to Tenants****
In light of the recent announcement made by HM’s Government, regarding the proposal of new protective measures against eviction, for up to a three month period. We advise Tenants that rental payments should be made as ‘normal’, and in line with your contractual ‘rent due’ date.
We understand that this is difficult time for everyone, and we ask that should you have concerns in respect of being able to meet your rental commitments, that you (for Tenants of Fully Managed and Rent-Collection clients) email/ call your local Kings office.
If you are a Tenant of a Let-Only property (I.e. your rental is paid directly to your Landlord), you should contact your Landlord directly, with any concerns.
****Note to Landlords****
For information in respect of the announcements made by HM’s Government, protecting renters over the course the COVID-19 outbreak, please contact your local Kings office for more information.
From all of the team at Kings Lettings