Coronavirus: frequently asked questions

We understand that at the moment you might have more questions and concerns about purchasing a home, your rental property or your mortgage. To help you we’ve put together some of our most asked questions to help you understand your options.

Are your branches open?

Following the recent government update regarding the property market we have made our offices as safe as possible, putting in place the COVID safe working practices set out within the update.

Our branches will re-open from Monday 18th May, operating from 10:30 – 18:00 Monday to Friday and 9:30 – 13:30 on Saturday. We are following the Government social distancing guidelines and therefore recommend calling or emailing us first to see if we can deal with your query without you making the journey to the office.

What precautions do you have in place?

As our priority is the health and safety or our staff and customers and in accordance with the guidelines set we will complete virtual viewings and valuations initially in order to reduce the number of physical interactions and unnecessary risk to customers.

To read our full guidelines regarding physical appointments see here.

FAQs for buyers and sellers during the Coronavirus outbreak 

Are you still selling houses?

Yes.  We are finding ways to continue to assist our customers whilst ensuring we adhere to social distancing through virtual viewings and valuations.

Properties that were Sold Subject to Contract before lockdown are also progressing and we have had people safely move home during this period. However, it is advised to postpone the move until a later date if possible.

Is my property worth less now?

Before Coronavirus the UK House Price Index indicate a small increase on average across most houses of around 1%.  So depending on when you bought your house, the area, or any development work, will play a part in how much your house is worth.

We are still seeing lots of people interested in selling their home, and people wanting to view, virtually.

Why not look at our instant online valuation tool to get an estimated valuation, or speak with to your local branch for more information about a virtual valuation.

How can I get an accurate valuation of my property?

If you would like to get an accurate valuation of your property at the moment then our valuers can advise on this. They can use video and images to get a feel for your home and use their knowledge and experience of the local area to advise on what your property is worth.

They will discuss your property and valuation with you either over the phone or via a video call.

Following the Government update on 13th May we are also able to provide physical valuations, with PPE and adhering to social distancing guidelines.

Can I view a property?

Inittially we providing virtual viewings on all of our properties. Please contact your local branch if there is a specific property you would like to view and they will be able to arrange this for you.

Following the Government update on 13th May we are also able to provide physical viewings, with PPE and adhering to social distancing guidelines.

FAQs for Tenants during the Coronavirus outbreak

Should I stop paying rent during the outbreak?

You should continue to pay rent and abide by all other terms of your tenancy agreement to the best of your ability.

If you are unable to do so we can support you by speaking to your landlord.  If you would like us to do this, we will need you to complete a Financial Hardship Questionnaire, so that we have all of the facts to present to your landlord.

Please contact your Property Manager to discuss this further.

What can I do if I am worried about getting into rent arrears?

You should continue to pay rent and abide by all other terms of your tenancy agreement to the best of your ability.  If you are falling into arrears, due to a drop in your income, we would suggest that you seek financial support via the package of measures introduced by the Government.

If you are looking for free and independent advice on this then we would recommend looking at resources provided by the Citizens Advice, The Money Advice Service and Shelter.

If you are unable to maintain you rent payments, we can support you by speaking to your landlord.  If you would like us to do this, we will need you to complete a Financial Hardship Questionnaire, so that we have all of the facts to present to your landlord.

Please contact your Property Manager to discuss this further.

I have heard that my Landlord cannot evict me – Is this right?

The Coronavirus Act 2020 protects most tenants and secure licensees in the private and social rented sectors by increasing the notice period to a minimum of three months. From 27th March, any claims in the system or about to go into the system will be affected by a 90 day suspension of possession hearings and orders.

At the expiry of the three-month notice, a landlord cannot force a tenant to leave their home without a court order. When the three-month notice period expires, a landlord would still need to take court action if the tenant was unable to move.

FAQs: Mortgage and insurance queries during the Coronavirus outbreak

Can I remortgage my property at the moment?

We are helping many customers remortgage and save money at the moment. If you’d like to review your current mortgage then please contact one of our mortgage advisers.

How can I save money?

A Mortgage Holiday will allow you to defer your payments for 3 months, but there are pros and cons to this and we would recommend talking to one of our experts or your lender first.

If your mortgage is moving to and Standard Variable Rate this could cost you more, so this is something you should look at sooner rather than later.

You could speak to any of your loan providers as many banks are offering loan holidays, which won’t affect your credit rating.

Check your local council’s website to see if they are offering a council tax holiday, some are and some aren’t but it is worth checking their website to confirm.

I cannot pay my mortgage what do I do?

Lenders are under strict rules when it comes to customers not being able to pay their mortgage.  We’d always recommend speaking to your lender as there are many options available which could assist you in this time such as a holiday or deferring payments all of which will have terms and conditions attached. 

How do I apply for my mortgage holiday?

You will have to apply directly to you lender, but we have tools here which will identify the correct process for your lender.

Is coronavirus covered under my insurance?

It will depend on who your insurer is, and what policy you have. We have policies that would cover you being off work long-term if you became seriously ill. Why not speak to one of our protection specialists who can take a look at your specific circumstances for you?

Should I cancel my insurance?

We would never recommend cancelling anything without a full review as you wouldn’t want to cancel something that you then need to claim on.  In the main, most people don’t see the value of insurance until they need to claim but if its cost that’s the issue we might be able to help you review it.

Also if you have a mortgage, buildings insurance is a mandatory.

Some insurers are offering payment holidays, however not all are.

Need more help?

Our branch teams are currently working from home and can be contacted by email or telephone. Find the contact details here.

Our Mortgage Advisers and Protection Specialists are also working from home and can provide full services via phone or video call. They can be contacted here.

You might also be interested in our blogs: Coronavirus: what does it mean for my house move? and Coronavirus: what does this mean for my mortgage?

 

 

 

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