Advice to businesses
All businesses, including all those involved in residential property, and helping people move home, must follow the Scottish Government’s latest Guidance for employers and businesses on COVID-19. The following is subject to that advice.
Estate Agents should continue to support clients during this period, taking into account the latest Scottish Government Guidance.
In line with business closure advice, agents should not open branches to the public during this period or visit people’s homes to carry out market appraisals.
Agents should ensure that employees can work from home to support existing clients and advise potential new clients.
Agents should continue to progress sales where this can be done whilst following stay-at-home guidance.
Solicitors should continue to support the sales process as far as possible and consistent with the protection of the safety of themselves, their staff, clients and the wider public and compliance with the stay-at-home measures against coronavirus. Solicitors should make sure their clients are aware of the difficulties of completing transactions in this period, particularly where any documentation requires to be physically signed (and/or witnessed), including dispositions and standard securities. Reference is made to the Guidance and Practice notes issued by the Law Society of Scotland and the Keeper’s up-to-date guidance on registration. In particular, solicitors should make every effort to support clients who are due to move in the stay-at-home period to change the date of the move.
Where possible, as noted above, if missives have been concluded, encourage seeking agreement between the parties to a variation to missives concluded to take account of the COVID-19 outbreak and not to move.
Priority should be given to supporting anyone with symptoms, self-isolating or shielding from the virus, and we urge them to do all they can to help a new date to be agreed in these circumstances.
Where reasonably necessary, the movement restrictions imposed by the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 (S.S.I. 2020/103) may provide a reasonable excuse to allow clients to move (regulation 8(5)(l)). This may apply where contractual provisions remain binding and safety precautions are taken.
Surveyors should follow the latest Scottish Government guidance and may continue to support the residential property market if they can do so in a way which is fully consistent with the social distancing advice.
Housebuilders should follow the latest Scottish Government guidance, which makes specific reference to the construction industry, due to be published shortly.
Housebuilders can continue to take online reservations during this period and can work with their customers to line up sales for completion in the future.
There will be people who have already committed to moving home; where possible, we are encouraging them to delay their move but a small number of moves may need to go ahead. We would urge everyone to take all sensible precautions to ensure the move can happen safely.
Removers can honour their existing commitments where it is clear that the move can be done safely for the client and their own staff and it is clear that the moving date cannot be moved.
Removers should follow the latest Government guidance and it is important to ensure Government’s social distancing and hygiene guidelines are followed, including maintaining a 2 metre distance from others, and washing hands with soap and water often for at least 20 seconds (or using hand sanitiser gel if soap and water is not available).
No work should be carried out by a person who has coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, however mild.