Covid-19 Update

COVID-19 Update - Version 10, Updated 20/05/2020

You will have heard the latest Government guidance that people wanting to move home in England can now do so. Following that, we’re happy to let you know that all our offices have now re-opened with Covid-secure changes. Our teams have been trained in line with the latest Government guidelines as well as being equipped with Covid-secure safety kits. The health and well-being of our colleagues, customers and communities remains our utmost priority.

Advice & FAQs

For added peace of mind, we thought we’d put together some advice & FAQs which might help to answer your queries or concerns at this difficult time.

Buyer FAQs

  • When are your offices reopening? (updated 13th May) Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Following the Government’s announcement confirming the re-opening of the English Housing Market on May 13th all our offices have now re-opened with Covid-secure changes.

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

    Yes, you can. Please talk to our mortgage partner 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.

  • Can you help find a property to buy? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Yes - You can access details of available properties on our "Buy" page. For further information, it's best to email us using the branch email address on our website.

  • What about viewing a property? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    The Government has lifted restrictions so that applicants from the same household can now view property in England.

    Prior to requesting an appointment you should, where possible, have already undertaken a virtual viewing in order to help avoid unnecessary appointments.

  • Booking your appointment Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down
    • Prior to requesting an appointment you should, where possible, have already undertaken a virtual viewing in order to help avoid unnecessary appointments.
    • When making an appointment you will be asked if you or any of your household has shown symptoms of Covid-19 or has tested positive in the last 14 days. If yes then we will not be able to proceed with the appointment.
    • A maximum of 2 people from the same household will be able to view the property at any one time. Please do not bring children with you.
    • We are unable to provide transport to and from appointments.  
  • The Appointment Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down
    • If anyone is presenting Covid-19 symptoms when we arrive at the property we will be unable to proceed.
    • You are requested to bring hand sanitiser with you and to use it before entering the property and again when you leave.
    • From arrival at the property, we would ask that the 2m distancing rule is adhered to at all times.
    • We will seek to minimise the number of people in the same room at the same time.
    • Please avoid touching door handles, light switches and other surfaces wherever possible.
    • We will aim to limit our time in the property and will answer any questions either outside of the property or over the telephone when we return to the office.
    • The wearing of protective Face Masks and Gloves (PPE) is not a mandatory requirement when viewing a property. However, please feel free to bring it with you to wear it if you prefer.  We are unable to provide PPE for you or to dispose of any that you have used on the appointment.       
  • We may appear different Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down
    • Our colleague will use hand sanitiser or will request to wash their hands upon arrival at the property; they will do the same before leaving.
    • Our colleague may be wearing protective Face Masks, Gloves or Shoe Covers.
    • They will carry disinfectant spray with them and may need to use this for keys, their kit or even in some areas of the house if they feel they need to.
  • I’ve put an offer in on a property, what happens now? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    We’re still available to support you with buying your house, even at this time. We will keep you updated with progress via email. If you need something urgently, please click the "Chat with Us" button on the right-hand side. One of our team will take some details from you and arrange for someone locally to be in touch. You can also contact your solicitor for updates.

  • Can I still use a removal service and complete my purchase now we are in lockdown? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Following on from the Government's most recent announcement, we are working hard to get people in England moving again in a safe way for the health of our customers, colleagues and communities. We will work with you to schedule your moving date and that you have access to the services that you need. Restrictions still remain in Scotland and Wales so if your move date is approaching, please click the "Chat with Us" button on the right hand side. One of our team will take some details from you and arrange for someone locally to be in touch.

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

    In England restrictions have been eased and there is no reason to put your purchase on hold. If you need something urgently, please click the Chat with Us button on the right hand side. One of our team members will take some details from you and arrange for someone locally to be in touch. You can also contact your solicitor for updates.

Seller FAQs

  • When are your branches reopening? (updated 13th May) Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Following the Government’s announcement confirming the re-opening of the English Housing Market on May 13th all our offices have now re-opened with Covid-secure changes. In the meantime you can email us using the branch email address on our website.

  • How will you market my property during this time? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    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 still have new buyers registering with us so as soon as we are able to start viewings safely, we will have potential buyers ready and waiting.

  • Can potential buyers view my property? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    In England, the Government has confirmed that subject to a number of restrictions individuals from the same household can view a property they are interested in. Virtual viewings will be used whenever possible to help limit the number of people entering your property. Prior to visiting we will provide our terms of engagement outlining what to expect and the preparations required.

  • Booking your appointment Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down
    • When making an appointment you will be asked if you or any of your household has shown symptoms of Covid-19 or has tested positive in the last 14 days. If yes then we will not be able to proceed with the booking.
    • We will also ask if you are officially shielding anyone at the property or whether you or anyone present at the property is in the vulnerable category. If yes then we will not be able to proceed with the booking.
    • Appointments should not be double booked with anyone else. Where possible we should be alone in the property.
  • Key collection Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down
    • If we need to collect keys, they should be left in an agreed place to avoid any unnecessary face to face contact of less than 2m. You may be asked to place the keys in an envelope or bag that we will provide. We will only touch the keys once we are wearing gloves. We may also disinfect the keys.
  • Arriving at the property Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down
    • If anyone is presenting Covid-19 symptoms when we arrive at the property we will be unable to proceed.
    • The number of persons per appointment in addition to our colleague will be limited to 2 individuals from the same household.
    • Where possible children should not be present in the property and should vacate whilst we are in attendance. Pets should please be contained.
    • Upon arrival at the property, we would ask that the 2m distancing rule is adhered to at all times. Ideally, the occupants should vacate the property whilst we are in attendance, and at the very least they should not be in the same room at the same time.
    • We will aim to limit our time in the property and will answer any questions either outside of the property or over the telephone.  
  • Preparing the property Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down
    • The property should be well ventilated with fresh air prior to our visit but the windows must be shut prior to arrival when photos are taken.
    • All light switches, door handles and other key contact surfaces should be sanitised with a disinfectant prior to our arrival.
    • All lights should be on and internal doors open. We will photograph and leave the property as we find it
    • The property should be ready to be photographed. We will not be tidying things away or moving furniture.
  • We may appear different Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down
    • Our colleague will use hand sanitiser or will request to wash their hands upon arrival at the property; they will do the same before leaving.
    • Our colleague may be wearing protective Face Masks, Gloves or Shoe Covers.
    • They will carry disinfectant spray with them and may need to use this for keys, their kit or even in some areas of the house if they feel they need to.
  • Other Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down
    • We will politely decline any offers of refreshments
  • Can you still progress my property sale? How will you do this? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    We are committed to progressing your sale to exchange of contracts in the same way we normally would. You can also contact your lawyer or legal advisor for updates. As conditions change we may need to adapt your completion date to ensure we are complying with the latest Government guidelines. If you need something urgently from us, please click the "Chat with Us" button on the right-hand side and choose the "Urgent Enquiries" menu option. One of our team will take some details from you and arrange for someone locally to be in touch.

  • 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.

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

    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.

  • Can I get a valuation and find out how much my property could sell for? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    You can request a market appraisal via our website by clicking the Request a valuation button.

Landlord FAQs

  • Is my property still being marketed for let? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Yes – Your property is still being advertised through the majority of our usual channels. We are also busy expanding use of video and 3D tours for virtual viewings.

  • Are tenants still looking to rent? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Yes – During lockdown and in compliance with Government’s guidelines we helped to safely rehouse those tenants with an urgent need for accommodation. Over recent weeks we have noticed a marked increase in the number of prospective tenants looking to move. We are actively managing those enquiries and matching tenants with potential properties.

  • When will your offices be reopening? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Following the Government’s announcement confirming the re-opening of the English Housing Market on May 13th all our offices have now re-opened with Covid-secure changes.

  • Can potential tenants view my property? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    English Government has confirmed that subject to a number of restrictions, individuals from the same household can view a property they are interested in. Virtual viewings will be used wherever possible to help limit the number of people entering your property.  Prior to visiting we will provide our terms of engagement outlining what to expect and the preparations required.

  • Booking your appointment Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down
    • When making an appointment you will be asked if you or any of your household has shown symptoms of Covid-19 or has tested positive in the last 14 days. If yes then we will not be able to proceed with the booking.
    • We will also ask if you are officially shielding anyone at the property or whether you or anyone present at the property is in the vulnerable category. If yes then we will not be able to proceed with the booking.
    • Appointments should not be double booked with anyone else. Where possible we should be alone in the property.
  • Key collection Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    If we need to collect keys, they should be left in an agreed place to avoid any unnecessary face to face contact of less than 2m. You may be asked to place the keys in an envelope or bag that we will provide. We will only touch the keys once we are wearing gloves. We may also disinfect the keys.

  • Arriving at the property Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down
    • If anyone is presenting Covid-19 symptoms when we arrive at the property we will be unable to proceed.
    • The number of persons per appointment in addition to our colleague will be limited to 2 individuals from the same household.
    • Where possible children should not be present in the property and should vacate whilst we are in attendance. Pets should please be contained.
    • Upon arrival at the property, we would ask that the 2m distancing rule is adhered to at all times. Ideally, the occupants should vacate the property whilst we are in attendance, and at the very least they should not be in the same room at the same time.
    • We will aim to limit our time in the property and will answer any questions either outside of the property or over the telephone.  
  • Preparing the property Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down
    • The property should be well ventilated with fresh air prior to our visit but the windows must be shut prior to arrival when photos are taken.
    • All light switches, door handles and other key contact surfaces should be sanitised with a disinfectant prior to our arrival.
    • All lights should be on and internal doors open. We will photograph and leave the property as we find it
    • The property should be ready to be photographed. We will not be tidying things away or moving furniture.
  • We may appear different Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down
    • Our colleague will use hand sanitiser or will request to wash their hands upon arrival at the property; they will do the same before leaving.
    • Our colleague may be wearing protective Face Masks, Gloves or Shoe Covers.
    • They will carry disinfectant spray with them and may need to use this for keys, their kit or even in some areas of the house if they feel they need to.
  • Other Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    We will politely decline any offers of refreshments.

  • Is it possible to have a market appraisal on my property? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    You can request a market appraisal via our website by clicking the Request a valuation button.

  • Will the current crisis affect rental values? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Likely impact to the UK's housing market is as yet unknown. We continue to monitor activity within the lettings sector to and keep our clients as fully informed as possible.

  • When my property is let can I still take out Rent & Legal Protection (RLP) insurance through you. Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Not for the time being. – Sales of RLP policies through our offices have been suspended whilst the policy underwriter assesses under what conditions the product can be re-introduced.  This approach mirrors that seen across a number of insurance products in the market.

  • Does my tenant need to continue paying my rent during the outbreak? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

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

  • What if my tenant can’t afford to pay rent? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    We have advised tenants that if they are having trouble paying rent then they should discuss this with you as soon as possible. Where payments are made to us, your tenant has been advised to Chat with us on our website or by emailing londonandprestige@countrywide.co.uk If you would like to speak with someone, please contact your local property management team.

  • Am I under an obligation to help if my tenant is having trouble paying rent? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Yes - Government has an expectation that landlords will, where reasonably possible, support tenants in difficulty. On May 5th govt. signalled a wish to “strengthen pre-action protocol”. Whilst no further detail is currently available it will almost certainly involve landlords having a duty to manage arrears before commencing possession proceedings. An unreasonable failure to do so could prejudice their ability to gain possession.

  • What kind of help can landlords provide if their tenant is having trouble paying my rent? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    This will understandably depend on the landlord's personal circumstances but there is an expectation from govt. that landlords will, where possible, agree to payment plans. In agreeing to a payment plan rent is not waived but delayed by an agreed amount for a set period of time. The balance is either repaid on an agreed date or spread over the remaining period of the tenancy. An unreasonable failure to do so could prejudice a landlords’ ability to gain possession.    

  • Is help available for landlords whose tenant is having trouble paying rent? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Yes – Landlords with a buy-to-let mortgage can apply to their lender for a 3 month mortgage holiday. Although not yet confirmed, we are hearing reports that not all lenders are granting mortgage holidays. Examples include where the borrower is not resident in the UK and/or has a portfolio of properties.  Please check with your lender before extending support to your tenant based on the suspension of mortgage payments.  

    We understand the Scottish Govt. is establishing a fund for private landlords experiencing difficulties in obtaining rent as a result of the crisis. Loans will be interest-free and payments deferred.

  • I have a Rent & Legal Protection policy. Can I claim during the crisis? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    You should defer to your cover provider to establish details of any restrictions applicable to your policy as a result of the current crisis. If you have arranged cover through us then please email rlp@countrywide.co.uk.

  • Can I evict my tenant during the crisis? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    No – Possession proceedings have been suspended until June 26th 2020.  A decision of whether to extend this for another 3 months will be taken in June. 

    Effective March 26th 2020 landlords are required to serve their tenant with 3 months’ notice of their intention to seek possession as opposed to the usual.

  • Can my tenants give notice? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Yes – Your tenants can give notice by emailing. Londonandprestige@countrywide.co.uk When we have received their notice, we will contact you to let you know.

  • Is your property management department open? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Yes – Supporting tenants and landlords in the properties we manage was an immediate priority as lockdown was announced. Landlords and tenants can contact us on the usual property management telephone number.

  • What about undertaking property repairs? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    The easiest way for tenants to report repairs is through our website. They will also receive helpful advice on what to do in an emergency. Our property management centres work with an extensive bank of contractors. At the date of this update, most are working as normal and therefore able to undertake essential maintenance and safety inspections.

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

    With properties managed by us keys cannot be collected from our branches because of the crisis. To ensure tenant safety and that of the contractor, they will call them directly to arrange access.  Tenants should advise them of any self-isolation or illness within the household.  When providing access, social distancing protocols should are observed.  If the tenant is transferring keys they should do so in a secure envelope ensuring they are sanitised before and after use.

  • What if the Gas Safety Record needs to be renewed during the crisis? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Where the property is managed by us, we are reminding tenants that renewal of the annual Gas Safety Record is an important part of keeping them safe in their home as it includes checks for carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a colourless odourless gas that can quickly kill, hence it often being referred to as the “Silent Killer”. Tenants allowing access for the inspection to take place as normal during the crisis is therefore very important. We are also reminding them to test any smoke and carbon monoxide alarms fitted at the property on a weekly basis.

  • What if my tenant is self-isolating or refuses access to the property? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Your tenant should where reasonable and safe, continue to allow access for repairs and safety inspections. If access is refused then efforts to undertake repairs and carry out safety inspections should be carefully documented and regularly followed up until the work has been completed.

  • What about the forthcoming requirement for electrical safety testing in England? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    The requirement for all new tenancies and most renewals commencing July 1st 2020 to have an Electrical Inspection Condition Report (EICR) remains unchanged. If we manage your property we will be in touch with you shortly. In the meantime please contact us if you have any questions.

  • Are you still doing property inspections? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    No - Our usual cycle of routine property inspections has been suspended due to the increased risk associated with the majority of tenants remaining at home as a result of govt. restrictions and working from home guidelines. Inspections will recommence as soon as it is safe to do so. If you have any individual concerns please discuss these with your property manager.

  • Will you keep me updated on any changes relating to the crisis? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    We update these FAQs in line with Government announcements. You can also visit www.gov.uk/coronaviruswww.gov.scot and www.gov.wales for updates.

Tenant FAQs

  • When will your offices be reopening? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Following the Government’s announcement confirming the re-opening of the English Housing Market on May 13th all our offices have now re-opened with Covid-secure changes.  

  • Can you help find a property to rent? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Yes - You can access details of available properties on our website. For further information it's best to email us using the branch email address on our website.

  • What about viewing property? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    The Government has lifted restrictions so that applicants from the same household can now view property in England. Restrictions in Wales and Scotland remain in place.

  • How will viewing be conducted safely? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    The safety of our clients, applicants, colleagues and the wider community remains our primary consideration. At the time of requesting an appointment, you will be provided with details around safety measures that will be taken to help minimise the risk of infection. 

  • Booking your appointment Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down
    • Prior to requesting an appointment you should, where possible, have already undertaken a virtual viewing in order to help avoid unnecessary appointments.
    • When making an appointment you will be asked if you or any of your household has shown symptoms of Covid-19 or has tested positive in the last 14 days. If yes then we will not be able to proceed with the appointment.
    • A maximum of 2 people from the same household will be able to view the property at any one time. Please do not bring children with you.
    • We are unable to provide transport to and from appointments.  
  • The Appointment Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down
    • If anyone is presenting Covid-19 symptoms when we arrive at the property we will be unable to proceed.
    • You are requested to bring hand sanitiser with you and to use it before entering the property and again when you leave.
    • From arrival at the property, we would ask that the 2m distancing rule is adhered to at all times.
    • We will seek to minimise the number of people in the same room at the same time.
    • Please avoid touching door handles, light switches and other surfaces wherever possible.
    • We will aim to limit our time in the property and will answer any questions either outside of the property or over the telephone when we return to the office.
    • The wearing of protective Face Masks and Gloves (PPE) is not a mandatory requirement when viewing a property. However, please feel free to bring it with you to wear it if you prefer.  We are unable to provide PPE for you or to dispose of any that you have used on the appointment. 
  • We may appear different Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down
    • Our colleague will use hand sanitiser or will request to wash their hands upon arrival at the property; they will do the same before leaving.
    • Our colleague may be wearing protective Face Masks, Gloves or Shoe Covers.
    • They will carry disinfectant spray with them and may need to use this for keys, their kit or even in some areas of the house if they feel they need to.
  • Do I need to continue paying my rent during the outbreak? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

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

  • 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 your landlord as soon as possible.  If you make payments to us then please contact your local office.

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

    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.

  • What help might a landlord be able to provide if I’m having trouble paying my rent? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    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.

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

    Where we manage the property and collect rent we can speak with your landlord on your behalf. We are unable to agree payment terms on your landlord’s behalf and we need their consent to change any rental payments. When contacting us in relation to rental payments please do so by email to   londonandprestige@countrywide.co.uk or via the "Chat with Us" link on the right-hand side, then choose the option “Existing Tenant”

    Where we manage the property and collect rent we can speak with your landlord on your behalf. We are unable to agree payment terms on your landlord’s behalf and we need their consent to change any rental payments. When contacting us in relation to rental payments please do call your local branch, or by email to  londonandprestige@countrywide.co.uk or via the "Chat with Us" link on the right-hand side.

  • Is other help available for tenants who are experiencing trouble in paying their rent? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Yes – If you are having difficulties and need further help this is available from your local authority, Shelter, Citizens Advice and The Money Advice Service.

  • 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 repair the property. There is an expectation that landlords and tenants will be reasonable and sensible around any non-urgent maintenance. Please only report repairs that are essential. Emergency and urgent jobs will then be prioritised.

  • 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 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.

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

    Keys cannot be collected from our branches during the crisis. 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.

  • Can I give notice to move out of my property? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Yes, email londonandprestige@countrywide.co.uk so your notice is in writing and we’ll do the rest.

TENANTS: What to do in an emergency?

  • Fire Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down
    • 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 Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down
    • 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 Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down
    • 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 Pipes Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down
    • 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 Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down
    • 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 Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down
    • 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

  • I exchanged contracts before the Coronavirus lockdown, but my circumstances have changed, and I now cannot complete my house purchase or sale. What should I do? 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 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.
  • 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 (this is known as a Simultaneous exchange and completion).

    Ordinarily, there is a period of time between exchange of contracts and legal completion.  However in these uncertain times, there are a number of additional risks which may restrict your ability to move on a predetermined and contractually bound moving date.  For example, you or someone in the chain could contract Coronavirus between exchange and completion which will restrict your ability to move.  This could lead to hefty financial penalties under the contract.

    Some Law Firms are suggesting additional clauses to be inserted into contracts to potentially work around these risks.  We do not believe that agreeing complex and lengthy COVID-19 clauses is the right approach and is in your best interest.

    Our best advice is for you to exchange and complete on the same day.  Whilst not ideal as you will not have 100% guarantee that you are moving until the day, we think this is, on balance, the right approach for the most critical exchange and completions during these extraordinary times.

    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, ).

    Whilst we have highlighted the main risks, we believe that in the current climate, this is the right approach which will limit some risks which are more prevalent during this lockdown period, such as;

    • Mortgage lender delays  - we know that the majority of mortgage institutions are affected by this crisis, as such there could be difficulties in getting mortgage funds for the day of completion
    • Law firms with limited capacity to operate or closed – during the lockdown period we could see office closures or Law firms who are unable to operate which could affect the ability of a chain to complete
    • Removal firms – Many removal firms are simply not operating during this time, this may affect the ability of the chain to complete, it is recommended that you continually review your removal arrangements
    • Banks open for business – whilst we have not experienced any issues to date, this could be an issue during the lockdown period.  We will continually review this with our bank and liaise with other firms prior to exchanging and completing.
  • I know my case is not ready to exchange, will you still be progressing the legal work and working on it? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    In common with other Law firms, we are operating remotely and at a reduced capacity. You can contact us by e-mail, and the auto response will direct you to respond to a mailbox which will be monitored. We do ask for your patience as we try to manage the unique challenges posed by Coronavirus in the best interests of everyone. Our priority right now is imminent exchanges and completions. This will inevitably affect our usual service levels for cases that have no realistic possibility of completing during the lock down period.  We are also aware that mortgage lenders are drastically reducing their ability to service requests, and an increasing number of Law firms have told us of temporary closure or reduced staffing levels, all of which will have an impact on how much we are able to do.

    During these are uncertain times, we wanted to reassure you that the health and wellbeing of our customers, colleagues and communities remain the utmost importance to us. Please be assured that we are working through all queries and will deal with your case, however we will be unable to respond as quickly as we would like.  We are making every effort to work on your case and thank you for your patience at this time.

  • 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.

    We would like to take this opportunity to thank you once again for your patience during this time. If you believe you are imminently expecting to exchange and complete, and you consider this to be critical during the lockdown period, please contact your Lawyer by email, who will be able to give you further advice.

Surveying

  • Covid Safe Compliance Certificate Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    The health of our customers, colleagues and communities is of the utmost importance to us and whilst these are uncertain times we want to reassure you that our focus and dedication remains to help all our customers with surveying advice. As part of this we now have a signed declaration of government compliance.

    Covid Safe Compliance Certificate

  • I’ve applied for a mortgage, what happens next? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Many customers may have the same concerns and lenders will be experiencing high call volumes. If you have used a broker they may be able to guide you through this process or speak with your lender to ask about what happens next.

  • Can you value my property for mortgage purposes during the COVID-19 pandemic? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Yes, we are still providing mortgage valuations for our clients. The valuation may be undertaken using our innovative remote valuation service. If we need to inspect your property we will contact you. The video on our website details how we will safely conduct an inspection of the property.

    It’s important to note that not all cases are suitable for a remote valuation and we can only act on the instructions received from your bank or building society if you have a chat with them they’ll let you know what will happen with your application.

  • Why isn’t my property suitable for a non-physical valuation? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    We work with our mortgage lender clients to determine which properties are suitable for a remote valuation. We adopt a risk based approach and consider a number of factors including the value of the property, the size of the loan, property age and type and its location. As such not all properties will meet the individual lenders requirements.

  • When will you be undertaking surveys again? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    We are now undertaking surveys in England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland, subject to any local lockdown restrictions.

    We are here to help all homebuyers with their purchase decision. Please contact us at HomeFact@countrywide.co.uk

  • I’ve received my survey report and I have some questions, can you help me? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    We have people on hand to assist our customers. Please contact us at surveying.insight@countrywide.co.uk and we will be able to help you.

  • I’m buying a new home and I need a survey, what should I do? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    We are now undertaking surveys in England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland, subject to any local lockdown restrictions.

    We are here to help all homebuyers with their purchase decision. Please contact us at HomeFact@countrywide.co.uk

  • Should I take the risk and proceed with the purchase if I have not had a survey? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    A survey helps you make an informed decision about the condition of the property. Without this knowledge, you may experience problems with the property when you move in. Or there could be defects which could be costly to put right.  

  • What will happen with my survey/valulation during the Welsh two week firebreak? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    We will be following Welsh Government advice and internal physical inspections of occupied property will not be undertaken during the two week Fire break in Wales.  Any report requiring internal inspection will be postponed and booked as soon as possible from w/c 9th November.

Mortgage FAQs

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

    Whilst the Government is urging homemovers to put plans on hold until social distancing restrictions are lifted, lenders are still offering mortgages rates for customers looking to buy a property and secure a deal. Whilst there may be limitations on how far a purchase can progress, discussing your individual circumstances and wishes with us at this time may help you to plan ahead.   

    Although our high street branches remain closed, Capital Private Finance can still help provide an “Advice and Recommendation service” to help review your mortgage and protection requirements, all from the comfort of your own home. 

    Using the technology that Countrywide already has in place, we can progress the whole mortgage & protection application process over the phone and email. This includes digitally signing all the necessary forms and paperwork*.

    To get started please email clientservices@capitalpf.co.ukand include your contact details and we will arrange for a member of our team to call you back as soon as we can.

    *A fee will be payable for arranging your mortgage. Your Consultant will confirm the amount before you choose to proceed.

  • How do I get mortgage payment holidays? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    During the COVID-19 crisis, the Government has announced that all mortgage lenders must support customers who need help and financial support at this time with payment holidays for 3 months. Some lenders also offer additional help and support, but this is based on your individual circumstance and you will need to contact the lender directly to discuss further.

    Most lenders have now created a simple payment holiday application form to complete on their website. Your lender will then confirm acceptance of the payment holiday application and when it starts. Please note that this can take up to 2 weeks. Some lenders still require you to contact their helpline first which can be found on their website.

    Details of the main lender websites/telephone numbers can be found below.

    Lender

    Contact details

    Barclays

    https://www.barclays.co.uk/mortgages/

    BM Solutions

    0345 850 5000

     https://secure.lloydsbank.com/

    Coventry Building Society

    0800 121 8899

    https://www.coventrybuildingsociety.co.uk/

    Halifax

    https://www.halifax.co.uk/mortgages/existing-customers/payment-holidays/?WT.ac=PaymentHoliday

    HSBC

    https://www.hsbc.co.uk/help/coronavirus/

    Leeds

    https://www.leedsbuildingsociety.co.uk/coronavirus-information/

    Nationwide

    https://www.nationwide.co.uk/support/coronavirus/mortgage-payment-holiday

    NatWest

    https://personal.natwest.com/

    Platform

    https://www.co-operativebank.co.uk/news/2020/coronavirus-support-personal-customers

    Precise

    https://www.precisemortgages.co.uk/

    Santander

    https://www.santander.co.uk/personal/coronavirus?icid=php-Hero-Coronavirus-0320

    Scottish Widows Bank

    0345 845 0829

    The Mortgage Works

    https://www.themortgageworks.co.uk/payment-holidays

    Virgin Money

    https://uk.virginmoney.com/contact/support-hub/coronavirus/

  • Can I still remortgage as my current interest rate is coming to an end? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Lenders have reduced the number of mortgage products they have available as well as reducing the higher Loan to Value deals. However, following the recent Bank of England base rate cuts many lenders are still offering low remortgage rates for customers looking to reduce their monthly mortgage payments.

    Countrywide Mortgages Services can still help provide an “Advice and Recommendation service” and using the technology that is already in place, we can progress the whole remortgage application process over the phone and email. This includes digitally signing all the necessary forms and paperwork*.

    To get started please email  clientservices@capitalpf.co.uk and include your contact details and we will arrange for a member of our team to call you back as soon as we can.

    *A fee will be payable for arranging your mortgage. Your Consultant will confirm the amount before you choose to proceed.

  • How do I get in touch with my Mortgage and Protection Consultant if the branch is closed? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    If you have been liaising directly with your Mortgage Consultant then please continue to do so using the email or telephone number that they have supplied to you.