The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries (AMI) has welcomed government guidance on home moving during the Covid-19 crisis.
AMI says that, following lobbying work and policy development by a range of trade bodies including itself and member firms, the updated guidance makes it clear that people who wish to move home can do so.
The guidance provides public health based information for both the public and the industry to ensure that moving home and key activities around this, such as viewing property, can happen safely.
AMI welcomes and is supportive of these changes which it says “put our industry right at the heart of restoring economic activity in the country”.
AMI expects that the full return to operations may take some time. It says that staff should continue to work from home if at all possible. The vast majority of mortgage advice can be completed from home via IT support and telephone. Employers have a legal responsibility to protect workers and others from risk to their health and safety. This means they need to think about the risks their employees face in estate agency, new build and other office environments and do everything reasonably practicable to minimise them. Many businesses have furloughed staff and will need to decide who to bring back and when. Staff will need additional training to ensure that they understand the new requirements and procedures which will take longer and be more complex. The majority of activity will need to be by appointment and be with people from single households.
Robert Sinclair (pictured), chief executive of AMI said: “This does not represent a return to normality. The process of finding and moving into a new home will need to be different given those involved in the process will have to adapt practices and procedures to ensure that the risk of the spread of coronavirus is reduced as far as possible. However, it does signal that firms involved in new build sales and advice, estate agency, valuations, conveyancing and removal as well as mortgage advice can open and transact.
“Adherence to social distancing and the highest safety standards will be absolutely paramount and all precautions will be taken to protect people viewing property. We also have new industry guidance covering estate agents, valuations and moving which has been developed to ensure we keep people as safe as possible in the process.
“Getting physical valuations and removals back makes a big difference, but we all have a role to play in ensuring everyone acts responsibly.”