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As England enter into a four week lockdown, we wanted to update you with regards to property valuations across England, Wales and Scotland.
Throughout the pandemic we have been liaising closely with our chartered surveyor partners to ensure that all property visits are carried out with the appropriate safety precautions in place.
As new restrictions are announced by governments in England, Scotland and Wales, we take all necessary steps to ensure we are both compliant and acting in the best interest of our employees, partners and customers.
For those advisers with customers awaiting a property valuation, valuations in England can proceed and Agents are allowed to continue to trade, we reiterate that the Welsh Government have issued revised guidelines advising ‘Surveyors are not prohibited from entering people’s property’. And in Scotland, home moves and associated activities will continue to be permitted, provided they can be carried out safely. Surveys and Home Reports can also be undertaken and people can move home in all protection levels, and to and from areas with different levels.
Together with our chartered surveyor partners we have concluded that we can continue to carry out physical valuations where it is deemed safe to do so. We will therefore continue to arrange and carry out appointments as we have been doing over recent months. We do however expect to encounter some delays.
Should you or your clients have any concerns, please do get in touch with our lending support team.
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A second lockdown across England will come into force on Thursday 5th November and will last until 2nd December in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19. The revised government guidelines reflect the need to balance the wellbeing of the public with the impact on the economy.
For this reason, the housing market and all associated activities are expected to remain open throughout the lockdown period. Therefore, until we and our valuation partners at e.surv receive any guidance to the contrary, physical valuations will proceed throughout England.
However, the safety and wellbeing of our colleagues at e.surv and your clients remains our priority.
Physical valuations can take place subject to:
Our valuation partners at e.surv are dedicated to ensuring the safety of your clients and will act in accordance with all government guidelines.
Wales & Scotland
The ‘firebreak’ lockdown in Wales remains in force until Monday 9th November. Our valuers based in Wales will continue to observe the restrictions and safety guidance – through the ‘firebreak’ and beyond.
In Scotland, the Scottish government is due to introduce a ‘five-tier’ system of restrictions that reflect varying infection levels across the region. At present, we do not believe this arrangement will restrict e.surv's ability to carry out physical valuations, but we will monitor the guidance and provide a further update if required.
Due to the cold weather, e.surv have already started to notice that some clients are unwilling to leave windows and doors open as requested by valuers at e.surv as part of their safety guidelines and ensuring the property is sufficiently ventilated, as this will let in the cold.
In the event that a client does not want to open windows or doors at a valuer's request, the valuation will be aborted and be rescheduled for a later date.
If you have any questions, email our dedicated COVID-19 inbox or contact your dedicated telephone account manager or business development manager. If your client does not want to proceed with a valuation until after lockdown, contact our adviser support team.
Lockdown restrictions are constantly changing and with the recent announcement from the Government of the 2nd lockdown for England our valuation approach is as follows:
Currently there are no locations where surveyor services are suspended.
England – New lockdown restrictions from Thursday 5th November – physical valuations are still allowed to take placeWales – ‘Fire Break’ lockdown until 9th November – physical valuations are still allowed to take place.
Scotland – 5 Tier system commence 2nd November– physical valuations are still allowed to take place.
Northern Ireland – Restrictions introduced 16th October for 4 weeks – physical valuations are still allowed to take place
All new applications, further advances and ports a physical valuation will be instructed with Countrywide.
Countrywide will carry out their risk assessment with the customers at the time of booking an appointment.
A physical valuation should not be carried out where any member of the household is experiencing symptoms of COVID 19 and/or they are self-isolating. In this situation Countrywide will put the valuation on hold and book an appointment for after the self-isolating period.
If a customer is considered clinically vulnerable and a physical inspection cannot be safely carried out Countrywide will make arrangements to carry out a desktop valuation with the benefit of an external visit to the property. An appointment will still be made with the customer for the external inspection.
Where a desktop valuation has been carried out the loan will be subject to full underwriting assessment for suitability and the following criteria will apply;
The type of valuation or if the case is to be put on hold will be established after Countrywide’s risk assessment. If Countrywide are unable to carry out an external inspection they will refer the case to the Underwriters for a decision on how to proceed.
Desktop valuations will only be released with permission from Just underwriting team, please do not assume they can be shared. If you wish to see a desktop valuation please raise this as a normal request, and assume an SLA of 48hrs to deal with the request.