Covid-19 Update

COVID-19 Update - Version 3, Updated 02/04/2020

During these uncertain times, we’re still doing everything we can to help keep you moving. As of 24/03/20, our branches have temporarily closed to comply with government directions and to keep all of our staff and customers safe.

We’re still open for business, just in a different way. We will be working remotely to ensure that all areas of the business remain functioning and supported and ensure the health and safety of our employees and customers.

We also understand that some of the greatest difficulties of the next few weeks and months of isolation will come from loss of social interaction. As such, please look to our social profiles and website where we will keep you up to date with any changes, share tips and advice, and foster a community.

Take care of yourselves and if you’d like to get in touch with any queries or concerns, we’d love to hear from you.

Seller FAQs

  • We are open for business and are only an email or phone call away. For the health and wellbeing of our customers, colleagues and communities we will no longer operate a branch-based service but our teams are still ready to help you, whatever you need at this time.

  • This is one of the things that will not change significantly. We will make sure that your property appears on all of the property portals, Rightmove, Zoopla, and Prime Location. Your property will also appear on our Website. Remember that 90% of people start their house search online and with more people at home this may well increase. We shall also be promoting our properties and their various features through our social media channels including targeted social media posts. We are still in contact by text, phone and email with our buyers and we still have new buyers registering with us. Rest assured we are constantly coming up with new and innovative ways to market your properties so please contact us to find out more. Whatever your requirements we will still tailor a marketing plan for you and your home.

  • We're doing all we can to keep our clients and prospective buyers or tenants connected, including offering prospective buyers the opportunity to view your property from the comfort and safety of their own home. It is as easy as 1-2-3.

    1. We start a WhatsApp or FaceTime video with the prospective buyers or tenants.
    2. We invite you as the owner of the property onto the call on behalf of the buyers or tenants.
    3. You show us around the property on your phone. We are here to help and advise on how we can best present your home.
  • We will progress your sale to exchange of contracts in the same way that we normally would. Our in house Conveyancing Team at Country & Capital are working as normal and you can still speak to your Lawyer or Legal Advisor and us. As conditions change we may need to adapt your Completion date to ensure that we are complying with current government guidance on Social Distancing. 

  • We are experts at progressing sales and managing chains and we will still proceed with your sale, liaising with all the key parties. These are uncertain times and we will support all customers and keep you updated. In the unfortunate event that your sale does fall through, we will work with you on a plan for your property and your circumstances.

  • Indeed we can but we cannot visit in person at this present time. Instead we can offer a ‘virtual’ valuation. These will be provided to the best of our ability when we have not physically visited the property. The price given will therefore be an approximate guide and we do advise a full appraisal, in person, to confirm the value of your property prior to its sale. Contact your local branch to find out more. 

  • At present we are still seeing customers registering to buy houses with us and requesting viewings. With 90% of buyers house search starting online we would recommend keeping a digital presence during this period. We will of course work with you on a personal plan for your property.

Buyers FAQs

  • Please talk to our Mortgage Advisors at Capital Private Finance about how they can help you, they can conduct an appointment over the telephone and give you all the advice that you need on buying a home. Call 020 3369 3257 or email referrals@capitalpf.co.uk.

  • We're doing all we can to keep our clients and prospective buyers or tenants connected, including offering you the opportunity to view properties from the comfort and safety of your own home. It is as easy as 1-2-3.

    1. We start a WhatsApp or FaceTime video with you.
    2. We invite the owner of the property onto the call on your behalf.
    3. They show us around the property from the comfort of your own home.
  • We will manage your offer with the seller of the property in the same way that we normally would. We will always keep you updated by phone and email.

  • The current government guidelines are only to travel for necessities, medical reasons, exercise and essential work. We will work with you to schedule your moving date when the time is appropriate and you have access to the services that you need.

  • We will progress your purchase in the same way that we normally would so there is no reason to put it on hold, we understand that these are uncertain times and we are here to support you, please contact your branch via email or phone so that we can help you.

Landlord FAQs

  • This is one of the things that will not change significantly. We will make sure that your property appears on all of the property portals, Rightmove, Zoopla, and Prime Location. Your property will also appear on our Website. Remember that 90% of people start their house search online and with more people at home this may well increase. We shall also be promoting our properties and their various features through our social media channels including targeted social media posts. We are still in contact by text, phone and email with our prospective Tenants and we still have new prospective Tenants registering with us. Rest assured we are constantly coming up with new and innovative ways to market your properties so please contact us to find out more. Whatever your requirements we will still tailor a marketing plan for you and your home.

  • We are communicating with all fully-managed tenants asking that they continue to report essential maintenance as normal. We will continue to provide essential maintenance with emergencies taking priority where our contractors are still able to safely enter the property. Should a tenant refuse access to a property as they are self-isolating or for any other reason we cannot attempt to force entry to the property, but we will work with them to arrange access to the property as soon as possible.

  • Indeed you can, but we cannot visit in person at this present time. Instead we can offer a ‘virtual’ valuation. These will be provided to the best of our ability when we have not physically visited the property. The price given will therefore be an approximate guide and we do advise a full appraisal, in person, to confirm the value of your property prior to its let. Contact your local branch to find out more. hamptons.co.uk/branches

  • Following the announcement on Monday 23rd March, the Government is seeking to stop the disease spreading between households. In view of that, it was announced that people will only be allowed to leave their home for very limited purposes.

    As the agent, we can advise that in normal circumstances a landlord may visit the tenant upon giving 24 hours written notice and can enter with the tenants consent. However, as we are not currently operating under normal circumstances we would recommend following the current government advice.

  • We're doing all we can to keep our clients and prospective buyers or tenants connected, including offering the opportunity to view properties. It is as easy as 1-2-3.

    1. We start a WhatsApp or FaceTime video with the prospective buyer or tenants.
    2. We invite the owner of the property onto the call.
    3. The owner shows us around the property.
  • During this time all in-person appointments are on hold. We can certainly arrange for a colleague to appraise you property remotely and talk you through the different service options available to you and your legal obligations. We can even start to advertise your property should you be able to provide certain details to us.

  • Of course we shall endeavor to keep you updated with all relevant legislative changes via email or a call. Please also refer to the Government guidelines to be found at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus. We shall stay in touch.

  • We suggest that contact your insurance provider to check the terms of your policy.

  • To minimise customer contact we have temporarily postponed interim property visits, however, if your tenants do have concerns they are able to continue to contact us by phone.

    Property Visits will resume once restrictions have been eased and it is safe to do so, any postponed visits will be rebooked as a priority.

  • Whilst tenants are still required to meet their rental obligations, despite the impact of Coronavirus, many may struggle to do so. The majority of landlords are working with their tenants to reach mutually acceptable compromises, as an alternative to prematurely ending the tenancy (agreeably or forcibly), so you may wish to consider offering options such as a temporary rent reduction or deferred payments over a set period of time.

    Evicting your tenant should be the last resort, so please talk to us for further advice and we will do everything possible to help and support both you and your tenant.  

  • Greater clarity is being provided daily by the Government, with the most recent updates revealing a simple extension of the notice period required for possession from 2 months to 3. This simply means that it may take a little longer to evict a tenant if necessary, but the package of Government support measures are designed to prevent this course of action if at all possible.

    Unprecedented times like these call for unprecedented gestures of compromise, cooperation and good will and the vast majority of landlords we have spoken with thus far have been ready and willing to work with their tenants to find a sensible way forwards.

  • The package of support recently unveiled by the Government provides some welcome support to tenants who may face difficulties with paying their rents. Measures such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which supplements furloughed workers’ incomes, and Universal Credit may help. Tenants will be advised to explore these options before requesting any variation to their rental payments.

  • If you have a Landlord-specific insurance, such as a Rent & Legal Protection policy, you may well be protected against the impact of rent arrears. Please contact your provider as soon as any arrears first occur for further advice.

  • If you work with your tenant to agree a deferment of rent, for example, you may be reimbursed at a later date for rent which falls due but is deferred by mutual agreement. In most cases, tenants will have paid a deposit equivalent to 5 or 6 weeks rent which may be used to recover rent arrears, but we advise waiting until the end of the tenancy to do so.

    We are available to help and support landlords and tenants through these difficult times, so please contact us to discuss your circumstances further and we will do everything possible to help.

Tenant FAQs

  • Yes – rent remains payable. There is no automatic suspension of rental payments during the crisis.

  • If you are having trouble paying your rent it is important that you discuss this with your landlord as soon as possible.  If you make payments to us then please contact your local branch.

  • Government has an expectation that landlords will, where reasonably possible, support tenants in difficulty.  There is currently no legal obligation on landlords to support tenants during the crisis.  Any support they can offer may well be dictated by their own personal circumstances.

  • This will depend on your landlords personal circumstances but might include allowing you to make reduced/ deferred payments by way of a payment plan.  If this happens it is important that you don’t breach the terms of the plan.

  • Where we manage the property we can speak with your landlord on your behalf. We are unable to agree payment terms on your landlord’s behalf.

  • Yes – if you are in difficulty and need further help this is available from your local authority, Shelter, Citizens Advice and The Money Advice Service.

  • No – For an initial 90 days from March 27th no tenant will be expected to move and no landlord can take possession. This 90 day period maybe extended.

  • Your landlord is still required to repair the property.  There is an expectation that landlords and tenants will be reasonable and sensible around any non-urgent maintenance.

  • Yes – the fastest and easiest way to ensure that we are notified of a repair when we manage the property is by emailing the property management team or logging into your MyHamptons tenant portal, here you will also receive helpful advice on what to do in an emergency. Like many employers we are operating a reduced workforce in the interest of keeping our staff safe, so please bear with us.

  • Renewal of the annual Gas Safety Record is an important part of keeping you safe in your home.  It includes checks for carbon monoxide production.  Carbon monoxide is a colourless odourless gas that can quickly kill, hence it often being referred to as the “Silent Killer”. Allowing access for the inspection to take place is therefore very important (see below).  Remember to test any smoke and carbon monoxide alarms fitted at the property on a weekly basis.

  • Keys cannot be collected from our branches during the crises. To ensure your safety and that of the contractor, they will call you directly to arrange access. Please advise them of any self-isolation or illness within the household. When providing access ensure that social distancing protocols are observed. If keys are transferred do so in a secure envelope ensuring they are sanitised before and after use.      

  • Firstly, please call your Landlord or if your property is managed please email a member of the management team.

    If your email relates to an emergency at your property between the hours of 18:00 and 09:00, and your property is managed by Hamptons International please call:

    For properties outside of the M25 please dial 020 3764 5561

    If your property is within the M25 please dial 020 7518 8600

    PLEASE NOTE- SHOULD THE CALL OUT NOT BE DEEMED AN EMERGENCY THEN YOU MAY BE LIABLE FOR THE CHARGE.

  • We're doing all we can to keep our clients and prospective buyers or tenants connected, including offering you the opportunity to view properties from the comfort and safety of your own home. It is as easy as 1-2-3.

    1. We start a WhatsApp or FaceTime video with you.
    2. We invite the owner of the property onto the call on your behalf.
    3. They show us around the property from the comfort of your own home.
  • We will do everything possible to ensure you move in as planned. We are working to government guidelines regarding social distancing and self isolation. Please contact your local branch to discuss how we can help you move as planned. https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

  • Fire

    • If you smell smoke or see fire call 999 immediately.
    • If living in a development of flats ensure that you are familiar with building evacuation protocols in the event of a fire.

    Gas

    • If you smell gas or think there may be a leak, open windows and doors and leave the property immediately. Do not turn on lights or light a cigarette.
    • Call the National Grid straight away on 0800 111 999, nationlagrid.com.
    • If in doubt call 999 immediately.

    No Electricity/ Supply Tripping

    • Check there is sufficient credit on the meter if you have a pre-payment meter.
    • Check with your neighbours and/ or your energy provider to establish if there is a problem in your area.
    • If your electricity keeps tripping (going off) turn off/ unplug appliances gradually turning them back on until the supply trips. This should highlight the problem device.
    • If the problem persists report the problem to us where we manage the property.

    Burst Pips

    • Turn off the water supply at the stopcock.
    • Use containers to try and catch the water.
    • If the water is close to electricity supplies or appliances immediately switch off the electricity supply at the mains.

    Loss of Water Supply

    • Check if your neighbours have the same problem
    • Check if the water authority serving your area has turned off the supply.
    • Contact the supplier if the problem persists.

    Lack of heating/ hot water

    • The majority of problems can usually be rectified with reference to the manufacturer’s instructions. Copy instruction manuals are readily available online.
    • Check that thermostats and timers haven’t inadvertently been adjusted.
    • With gas boilers try re-setting the pilot and re-pressurising the system with reference to the instruction manual.
    • If you have a hot water cylinder check to see if it has an immersion heater that you can use until the boiler is repaired.

    If the problem persists report the problem to us where we manage the property.

Conveyancing FAQs

  • We are aware of all imminent completions, and we will have been in touch with you to discuss your options. We are still exchanging and completing cases, and minimising the risks by completing on the same day as we exchange. We will discuss these risks with you. If you think your case is nearly ready to exchange and complete, please keep in regular contact with your property lawyer, as we will be working for you. Please keep your personal and removal arrangements under constant review.

  • We are quite used to dealing with simultaneous exchanges and completions but it does require the co-operation of all parties involved in the transaction and there are risks.

    • It will be necessary for you to make all the practical arrangements in advance of the proposed completion date, some of which could incur costs in advance even though until contracts have been exchanged, you cannot be certain that the transaction will actually take place.
    • All parties involved, particularly in a chain of transactions, will have to make the same preparations and if anyone of them cannot make those arrangements in time, or their own circumstances change, the arrangement may collapse at the last minute.
    • If a proposed simultaneous exchange of contracts and completion is not successfully achieved, then all the preparations would have to be repeated in time for an alternative date and you would inevitably incur additional costs (e.g. removals cancellation fee, interest payable on your new mortgage funds ordered in advance, etc.).
  • Although we cannot make decisions for you, we will let you know the possible options and the risks of those options. Then you can consider what would be best for you and the chain of transactions in which you may be involved. These are extraordinary times, but we are here to support you in your move in any way we can.

  • Once you have exchanged contracts, you are contractually bound to complete your sale or purchase on the agreed completion date. If you are unable to do so, whatever the reason, you will be in breach of contract. This has always been the case, irrespective of the Coronavirus implications.

    The implications of this can range from payment of interest under the contract for late completion, loss of the 10% deposit paid on a purchase or refund of the deposit paid on a sale, and other reasonable costs that flow from the breach of contract. In a long chain, this could include significant costs being passed on to the defaulting party, or having to chain break and find temporary accommodation to enable a sale to go through to avoid a breach of contract.

    We are contacting our customers who have already exchanged with a completion date beyond 31st March to discuss their options. If you have not been contacted and you think, you can no longer complete, contact your Property Lawyer.

  • Our legal teams are now homeworking. Customers can contact their lawyer or legal assistant to discuss their situation by calling or emailing them – if they are not available immediately, we ask for your patience as they will endeavour to get back to you as quickly as they can. We should be honest with you, and say that the priority is imminent exchanges and completions and this may affect our usual service levels.

    We know already that some customers are no longer willing or able to continue in this time of uncertainty. If you do want us to continue to work on your case with no guarantee that you will be able to exchange or complete, will you please contact us to discuss what is possible for us to do.

    If we do not hear from you in the coming weeks, we will put your file into temporary abeyance. There will be no cost to you for anything that we have done so far. We will easily be able to work on your case again as soon as things become clearer.

    The health and wellbeing of our customers, colleagues and communities are of utmost importance to us and whilst these are uncertain times, we wanted to reassure you that our focus and dedication remains to keep our customers moving.

  • Please do call us if you have any further questions on 020 7871 5335 or email us at enquiries@countryandcapital.co.uk

Mortgage FAQs