Different lockdown rules in England and Wales confusing, says estate agent

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Opening the housing market in England but not in Wales is “confusing”, an estate agent with properties in both nations has said.

From Wednesday, estate agents in England can reopen and carry out viewings providing social distancing is maintained.

But the property market remains shut across the rest of the UK, with valuations, visits from potential buyers and physical house moves still halted in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Samantha Troy, director of Adre Properties, called having houses for sale and rental in both England and Wales a “strange one” as the two countries move to different coronavirus lockdown rules.

“We do sit right on the border, so it is a strange one at the moment,” she said.

“We just have to wait for advice as to how, for a Welsh estate agent, we can go within our own town to carry out viewings.

“It is very confusing and I think maybe the Welsh government now might clear something up about how Welsh agents (should) react to this.

“I’m sure the questions are being asked, but at the moment Wales is quite clear about staying home.”

The company, based in Chepstow in Monmouthshire – which borders Gloucestershire – has staff in England who will conduct viewings.

“We’re just going to have to look at how business moves forward and utilise people, we do have people who can do viewings for us that are based in England,” Ms Troy said.

HEALTH Coronavirus
(PA Graphics)

Ms Troy said the business has already adapted to the coronavirus crisis by conducting virtual house viewings.

To ensure the safety of staff and those looking round properties, she said the company had ordered masks and gloves to create packs to give to prospective tenants.

“As the market opens up in the next few weeks, we would only allow serious viewings to proceed, no children allowed to attend, no more than two,” she told the PA news agency.

“If they are empty properties that is a lot easier for us, but we will insist that owners aren’t in the house so that we can monitor safe distance.”

Sweeping restrictions on movement which came into force in England on March 26 said a reasonable excuse to leave the home included to “move house where reasonably necessary”.

Changes to the guidance, which come into force from Wednesday, enable buyers and renters in England to complete purchases and view properties in person.

Visiting estate agents, developer sales offices or show homes will also be allowed.

According to the Government, more than 450,000 buyers and renters have been unable to progress their plans to move since March.

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