Covid-19 FAQs

COVID-19 FAQs- Updated 19/05/2020

The government has now anounced that people living in England and who wish to move house can now do so.

In light of this we are putting in place plans to enable viewings and valuations to take place. Rest assured we will follow government guidelines closely to ensure the safety of our staff and our clients - this remains our priority and will shape our plans we we move forward.

Virtual viewings have proved to be extremely successful during lockdown and we continue to encourage these. However we know that for many of you physical viewings are necessary. 

Seller FAQs

  • Is my local branch open? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Whilst staff are now working from branches again we are only open to the public by appointment. Please do not visit a Hamptons branch without making an appointment in advance, and only organise to visit us in branch for activites that cannot be done over the phone or via email.

  • How are you managing viewings? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Following the Government's announcement on 13.05.2020 we can now carry out in person viewings. Where possible the first viewing will be a virtual viewing via video or video call, any interested parties will then be offered an in person viewing. Please click here to see our guidelines on how viewings will be carried out safely.

  • If the chain collapses in my sale due to the issues we are facing, what will happen? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    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.

  • Can I still get a valuation? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Following the Government's announcement on 13.05.2020 we can now carry out in person valuations. We also continue to offer virtual valuations should this be preferred. Please click here to see our guidelines on how appointments will be carried out safely.

  • Should I place my property sale on hold? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    The number of new buyers coming into the market is rising daily and there is significant pent up demand from our existing database of buyers. Now that we are able to carry out appointments and progress sales as normal there is no reason to place your sale on hold. We will of course work with you on a personal plan for your property to ensure that you are doing the right thing for you.

Buyers FAQs

  • Can I still get a mortgage? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    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.

  • Am I able to view a house I am interested in? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Following the Government's announcement on 13.05.2020 we can now carry out in person viewings. Where possible the first viewing will be a virtual viewing via video or video call, any interested parties will then be offered an in person viewing. Please click here to see our guidelines on how viewings will be carried out safely.

  • I've just put an offer in on a property, what happens now? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    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.

  • I am organising a house move how do I go about this? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Following the Governement's announcement on 13.05.2020 anyone living in England and wishing to move house can now do so. When organising your house move please follow the government guidelines to ensure social distancing and other safety measures are taking into consideration.

  • Should I put my property purchase on hold at this time? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    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

  • Can I get a valuation? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Yes, absolutely. Following the Government's announcement on 13.05.2020 we can now carry out valuation appointments in-person or by video call (as we have done throughout lockdown). Where possible, we will continue to offer remote valuations in the first instance. For properties which are available immediately, available for a tenant to move into within the next 3 months or where an existing tenant has already served notice to leave, we may recommend an in-person appointment as soon as possible. Please click here  to see our guidelines on how valuations, and viewings once marketing begins, will be carried out safely.

  • How will you be marketing my property now? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    This is one of the things that has not changed significantly since before lockdown. We will continue to make sure that your property appears on all the main property portals; Rightmove, Zoopla, and Prime Location, as well as on our Website. 90% of people start their property search online, and we also promote our clients' properties and their various features through our social media channels. Our use of video tours enabled tenants who had to move urgently to commit to properties without viewing them in person during the lockdown period, and the latest government guidelines require us to continue conducting initial property viewings this way wherever possible. We will prepare video tours (free of charge) of all properties we are instructed to let, and may also offer video calls (hosted by us, and joined by the resident of a property and the interested tenant). Once a tenant's serious interest in a property has been established, we will happily accompany a visit in-person. A number of strict social distancing protocols will be observed by us, and we will ask the same of visitors and residents if the property in question is occupied. The safety and wellbeing of our colleagues and customers is our first priority, and further details of the steps we will take (and ask others to) are available below, and/or will be shared with relevant parties when appointments are confirmed.

  • If my property is on the market how will viewings be conducted? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Following the Government's announcement on 13.05.2020 we can now carry out in person viewings. Where possible the first viewing will be a virtual viewing via video or video call. Interested parties will then be offered an in-person visit. Please click here to see our guidelines on how viewings will be carried out safely. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to discuss these with your Hamptons' representative.

  • Can a tenant move into or out of my property safely again, now that lockdown restrictions have been eased? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Yes they can, and we will do everything possible to help. We have a number of measures already in place to assist. For example: - We use digital technology to enable tenancy documents to be signed and payments to be made, which means we can deal with all start/ end of tenancy paperwork electronically. 

    • Our inventory clerks, contractors, cleaners and colleagues will follow strict protocols (including social distancing measures and use of PPE) whenever we need to meet you or your tenant and/ or visit the property.
    • We will take steps to perform (unavoidable) checks on your identification and to establish a tenant's right to rent in the UK digitally (where possible) or from a distance.
    • We have measures in place to receive and release keys as safely as possible. - We will work with you and your tenant(s) to try and provide the greatest peace of mind possible during your dealings with us.
  • How will you manage my tenants problems? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    We are in regular contact with all tenants living in properties which we fully manage, and have asked that they continue to report essential maintenance as normal. We will continue to provide essential maintenance, with contractors adhering to the strict protocols we have in place concerning social distancing and PPE. Safety checks and emergencies continue to take priority, with non-essential works being completed as and when it is appropriate for our contractors to enter a property. Should a tenant refuse access to a property, due to being sympromatic or shielding, we cannot force entry to the property. However, we will work with them to arrange access as soon as possible.

  • Can I visit my tenant if there's an issue with my property? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Under normal circumstances, a landlord may visit his/ her tenant by giving 24 hours written notice and entering thereafter with the tenant's consent. However, the latest government guidelines continue to prohibit visits to the homes of friends or family, so we advise landlords to carefully consider the interpretation of this guidance before visiting any occupied property which is not his/ her main residence. It should be possible to engage the services of professional tradespeople instead, who may be better placed to help under the current circumstances.

  • I have a property visit booked in, will this still go ahead? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    We are completing interim Property Visits on our fully managed portfolio as and when it is appropriate, safe and necessary to do so. The non-essential nature of these visits means there is no urgent need to prioritise these at present, but any tenant with a concern about their property knows to contact us as normal so that we may respond accordingly. Scheduled Property Visits will resume over the coming days and weeks, with those which were postponed during the stringent lockdown period being rebooked as a priority.

  • Will you be keeping me updated on the latest government changes affecting me and my tenants? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Absolutely. We are in regular contact with all fully managed clients regularly, and regular Coronavirus-related updates are made to this section of our website. Please also refer to the latest Government guidelines which can be read at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus. We shall stay in touch.

  • My tenant can’t afford to pay the rent – what are the options open to me? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    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.  

  • What help is available to my tenant if they can't afford to pay rent as a result of Covid-19? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    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.

  • What does the eviction freeze mean for me? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    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.

  • Can I be reimbursed for lost rental income? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    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.


    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.


    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.

  • Guides and Website links Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Government: Guidance for landlords and tenants during the Covid 19 outbreak

    Government: Guidance for home moving

    ARLA: Updates and News

    ARLA: Changes to Eviction Rules

    ARLA: Courts Services Suspended

    ARLA: Advise on Gas and Electric checks

    ARLA: Guidance on tenancy deposit protection from the TDS

    ARLA: Legislative Overview - 16April

    ARLA: Temporary Right to Rent checks during the Covid outbreak

    Click here to read our Landlord Guide.

Tenant FAQs

  • Can I safely continue my search for a property to rent? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Absolutely. We have a large number of video tours available, and may also be able to arrange a video call (hosted by us) where the owner/ resident of a property walks you though the property. First viewing appointments will be conducted remotely wherever possible, but once you have narrowed your selection we will happily accompany you to the property you'd like to commit to renting, in-person. A number of strict social distancing protocols must be observed by us, and we will ask the same of you, during any such appointment to protect the health and wellbeing of our colleagues and customers alike. Further details are available below, and/or will be shared with you when your appointment is confirmed.

  • What steps will be taken to protect me from the Coronavirus when I visit a property? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Click here for details of the steps we will take, that we will ask you to take and that we will ask the resident of any property being viewed to take before/ during/ after a property visit. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to discuss these with your Hamptons' representative.

  • Can I move into or out of a property safely again, now that lockdown restrictions have been eased? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Yes you can, and we will do everything possible to help. We have a number of measures already in place to assist. For example:

    • We use digital technology to enable you to sign documents and make payments, which means we can deal with all start/ end of tenancy paperwork electronically.
    • Our inventory clerks, contractors, cleaners and colleagues will follow strict protocols (including social distancing measures and use of PPE) whenever we need to meet you or visit your property.
    • We will take steps to perform (unavoidable) checks on your identification and right to rent in the UK digitally (where possible) or from a distance.
    • We have measures in place to release keys to you as safely as possible.
    • We will work with you to try and provide the greatest peace of mind possible during your dealings with us.
  • Can you help me if I’m having trouble paying my rent? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    We understand that this is a difficult time for many of our customers and we will do our very best to help. We have a specialist team of experienced rental experts who are available to help via WebChat from our homepage between 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday. They can call you back if necessary, and will help you to determine:

    • Whether asking to vary your rental payments is necessary
    • What type of payment plan might work best
    • How to clear any arrears which may accumulate during a period of payment variation

    In many cases we will be able to contact your landlord to discuss your proposals. Subject to your landlord’s understanding and consent we will also ensure the relevant paperwork is completed if any variations to your tenancy agreement are subsequently agreed.

  • Can my landlord help me if I’m having trouble paying my rent? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    It is possible that your landlord may be able to assist by varying the contractual obligations which your tenancy agreement places on you. However, before considering any such request s/he is likely to want to better understand your change in circumstances, so please take a few moments to read these Covid-19 Tenant FAQs carefully before approaching us or your landlord.

  • Do I need to continue paying my rent during the outbreak? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Yes – rent remains payable. The Government has not mandated any suspension or variation of rental payments, and has placed no formal obligation on landlords to financially support their tenants during the crisis. Any support landlords may be willing to offer is likely to be influenced by their own personal circumstances.

    You should explore the many new forms of financial support which have been made available in recent weeks before seeking to discuss any payment variations with us or your landlord. You may find the following helpful:

    • gov.uk/coronavirus
    • Citizens Advice Bureau
    • The Money Advice Service
    • Shelter
    • Local authority Hardship Fund (which includes Council Tax relief for the economically vulnerable)
    • Utility companies, credit and/or insurance providers and subscription operators (who are being asked by the Government to operate flexibly in support of customers affected by Covid-19).
  • What if I can’t afford to pay my rent? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    If you are having trouble paying your rent it is important that you discuss this with us (if we fully manage your property) or with your landlord (if s/he arranges maintenance and repairs) as soon as possible. To contact us please click on the WebChat icon on our homepage where an experienced rental expert will be pleased to assist you.

    You should be ready to provide evidence of whichever of the following reasons may be relevant to your change in financial circumstances:

    • You have been furloughed
    • You have lost your job, been made redundant or had an offer of employment withdrawn
    • You are working, but your earnings have materially reduced

    Your landlord may also wish to understand whether you could still meet your rental obligations despite your change in financial circumstances. You may, therefore, be asked to discuss the following:

    • The value of furlough payments and/or your revised income levels
    • The value of any redundancy package and/or notice pay
    • Savings and other assets (such as shares) which could be released to cover your rent
    • A rental guarantor
    • Insurance cover which could help, such as an Income Protection policy
    • Your eligibility for Universal Credit and/or other relevant Government support such as Discretionary Housing payments
    • Your eligibility to benefit from other forms of Government-backed Coronavirus support, such as local authority grants/ business rates relief/ business interruption loans (for the self-employed), deferred VAT or self-assessment payments, etc.
    • Steps taken to adjust your non-essential spending
    • The possibility of opting for a Deposit Replacement Product in order to release your cash deposit. (Please note that this option is not suitable for all tenants and would require your landlord’s agreement.)
  • Can I be evicted from my home during the crisis? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    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.

  • What if a repair is required at the property during the outbreak? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Your landlord is still required to maintain and repair the property, and tenants, landlords and agents should work together to facilitate safety checks as needed. There is an expectation that landlords and tenants will be reasonable about possible delays to non-essential works at this time, and any contractors visiting a property should maintain strict social distancing measures and use PPE as necessary. Tenants are politely asked to accommodate visits as necessary, and are welcome to direct any questions to Hamptons (if we manage your property) or the landlord (if s/he arranges maintenance and repairs).

  • Are you open during the crisis for me to report repairs? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Absolutely, and we will be throughout. If your property is managed by Hamptons please log into your MyHamptons account (which contains helpful advice in case of emergency), email your property manager or webchat with one of our property managers by clicking on the 'chat' icon (between Mon- Fri, 9am - 5pm). If your property is not managed by Hamptons, please contact the landlord.

  • What if I’m notified that the Gas Safety Record needs to be renewed during the crisis? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Renewal of the annual Gas Safety Record is an important part of keeping you safe in your home. It includes checks for carbon monoxide in your property, which can be fatal fast. Allowing access for the inspection to take place is therefore very important, so please try not to refuse access for this purpose. (Exceptions may involve being sympomatic of Covid-19, or shielding). Remember to test any smoke and carbon monoxide alarms fitted at the property on a weekly basis.

  • What about contractors accessing the property during the crisis? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Keys can now be collected from our branches again if necessary, but to minimise avoidable person to person contact we will continue to ask residents of a property to facilitate access wherever possible. Contractors, photographers and/or surveyors may call you directly to arrange access, and both you and they will receive guidance notes before any visit to ensure social distancing and PPE expectations are understood and respected. Please advise them of any self-isolation or illness within the household and, when providing access, ensure that social distancing protocols are observed.   

  • What to do in an emergency? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    If your property is managed by the landlord, please contact him/ her directly.

    If your property is managed by Hamptons, please log into your MyHamptons account which contains helpful advice in case of emergency. Alternatively, email your property manager or webchat with one of our property managers (by clicking on the 'chat' icon) during working hours. If you experience a genuine emergency outside working hours please call:

    020 3764 5561 (outside the M25)
    020 7518 8600 (inside the M25)


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

  • Useful Information Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    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.

  • Guides and Website links Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Government: Guidance for landlords and tenants during the Covid 19 outbreak

    Government: Guidance for home moving

    ARLA: Updates and News

    ARLA: Changes to Eviction Rules

    ARLA: Courts Services Suspended

    ARLA: Advise on Gas and Electric checks

    ARLA: Guidance on tenancy deposit protection from the TDS

    ARLA: Legislative Overview - 16April

    ARLA: Temporary Right to Rent checks during the Covid outbreak

Conveyancing FAQs

  • I know my case is nearly ready to exchange and complete. What should I do? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    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.

  • Are there risks in exchanging and completing on the same day? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    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.).
  • Can you help me decide whether to continue with my purchase or sale? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    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.

  • I exchanged contracts before the coronavirus impact, but my circumstances have changed, and I now cannot complete on my house purchase or sale. Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    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 clients who have already exchanged with a completion date beyond 31st March to discuss their options. 

  • I know my case is not ready to exchange, will you still be working on it? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Our legal teams are now homeworking, and are actively progressing all cases. Clients can contact their lawyer or legal assistant to discuss their situation by calling or emailing them.

    We know already that some clients 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.

  • Who can I contact during this time? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

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

Mortgage FAQs