During the second lockdown the government have allowed the housing market to carry on as normal. This is due to the hard work all agents across the country have made ensuring their premises and practises are as safe as possible. Here at Open House all our vendors and viewers are asked to read and follow these guidelines on this Risk Assessment.
Open House Safety Risk Assessment
Our precautions to help reduce the risk of transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19) and help keep everyone safe
On 13th May 2020, the government amended the coronavirus (COVID-19) regulations to make clear that people who wish to move home
can do so provided social distancing is adhered to. This guidance provides important public health information to ensure that moving home
and key activities around this, such as viewings, can happen safely.
Based on the government guidance, we have formulated our own risk assessment to keep our employees and clients safe when conducting
viewings. We hope that the guidance below provides assurances that Open House are ready to resume estate agency activity safely and
with minimal risks to all parties concerned. We would like to stress that we are as motivated as ever to sell your property, but this needs to
be balanced with the increased risks presented by coronavirus.
All visits to your property by our agents and prospective buyers must be carried out in whilst observing social distancing in line with public
health advice. The simplest steps you can take when looking to move home is to wash your hands frequently and wherever possible stay at
least two metres apart from people who are not members of your household.
We recommend the use of virtual viewings before sending people to out to your property. This will minimise public health risks and will
ensure physical viewings are only conducted where prospective buyers are seriously considering making an offer on a property. If we have
yet to arrange a virtual viewing of your property and you would like us to do so, please let us know.
• Before booking a physical viewing, we will ask you whether any members of the household are showing symptoms of
coronavirus or are self-isolating. If you answer yes, a physical viewing will not be booked.
• In addition to checking whether you are showing symptoms of coronavirus or are self-isolating, we will also ask whether
there are any occupiers who are classed as clinically vulnerable (e.g. over 70). If you answer yes, viewings can still be booked
in this instance, but you (or the vulnerable household member) will need to carefully consider your personal situation and the
circumstances and may wish to seek medical advice before deciding whether to proceed.
• If our agent is due to attend the viewing and develops symptoms of coronavirus between booking the appointment and the
day it is due to take place, we will contact you to postpone the appointment giving as much notice as possible.
• We will ask all prospective buyers whether any members of their household are showing symptoms of coronavirus or are self isolating.
If they answer yes, a physical viewing will not be booked.
• We will keep viewings as short as possible. Most properties should be able to be viewed sufficiently within 15-20 minutes.
If you are conducting the viewing yourself, we will advise prospective buyers beforehand that the viewing must not be
• If a property is not large enough, or there are any other logistical issues which mean a viewing cannot be conducted whilst
adhering to social distancing measures, we will not book a viewing at the property.
• Before the viewing, we would ask that you prepare by:
– Opening all internal doors to minimise contact with door handles.
– Ensuring all surfaces at the property and any other highly touched items have been wiped down.
– Opening all windows when possible to ensure good ventilation at the property is maintained.
• If the viewing is to take place at an unoccupied property, our agent will use standard household cleaning wipes on all
door handles within the property.
• If our agent is due to attend, they may opt to wear a face mask/covering and gloves as a precautionary measure. If you would
like to insist that our agent wears any PPE for added reassurance, please let us know before the viewing. If you are conducting
the viewing yourself and wish to wear a face covering but don’t currently have one, these can be made at home and advice
on how to do this and use them safely can be found on the GOV.UK website (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/
• We will restrict the number of people who attend the viewing so social distancing can be practised. A maximum of two
people from the same household will be permitted to attend your property for a viewing.
During viewings (agent accompanied)
• Our agent will either walk to the property or use their own transport. We will ask all prospective buyers not to use public
transport to travel to the property.
• When arriving at an occupied property, our agent will knock on the door and step back two metres (about three steps) so
that when you open the door, social distancing is adhered to.
• Our agent will introduce themselves as they normally would but will not shake hands upon entering or leaving the property.
• Our agent will wash their hands with soap and water (or hand sanitiser if this is not possible) immediately after entering.
Where possible, you should allow access to handwashing facilities and ideally separate towels/paper towels.
• Due to social distancing we encourage that you wait outside the property (e.g. in the garden) whilst the viewing is taking
place. If this is not possible, we would ask that you maintain social distancing by keeping to one room and moving to another
room when required. Our agent will be required to stay at least two metres from all members of your household and any
prospective buyer at all times.
• If our agent needs to sneeze or cough during the visit to your property, they will always look to cough or sneeze into a tissue,
or their sleeve, and dispose of the tissue as soon as possible and then re-wash their hands, either with soap and water or their
own sanitiser. We will ask all prospective buyers to do the same.
• Our agent will not share pens, paper, or any other objects during the appointment with anyone in attendance.
• Our agent will avoid touching surfaces where possible and will bring their own hand sanitiser and we will ask prospective
buyers to do the same.
During viewing (unaccompanied)
• We will ask all prospective buyers not to use public transport to travel to the property.
• We will ask all prospective buyers to knock on the door upon arrival and step back two metres (about three steps) so that
when you open the door, social distancing is adhered too.
• Under no circumstances should you shake hands with people viewing. We will advise all people viewing not to attempt to
shake hands upon entering or leaving the property.
• We will ask all people viewing to wash their hands with soap and water (or hand sanitiser if this is not possible) immediately
after entering. Where possible, you should allow access to handwashing facilities and ideally separate towels/paper towels.
• Only one person from your household should be present to show the prospective buyer round the property. Due to social
distancing we encourage all other household members to wait outside the property (e.g. in the garden) whilst the internal
inspection is taking place. If this is not possible, we would ask that they maintain social distancing by keeping to one room
and moving to another room when required. All members of your household including the person showing them around will
be required to stay at least two metres from any the prospective buyer at all times.
• We will ask prospective buyers to cough or sneeze into a tissue, or their sleeve, if they need to do so, and dispose of the tissue
as soon as possible and then re-wash their hands, either with soap and water or their own sanitiser.
• We will ask prospective buyers to avoid touching surfaces where possible and bring their own hand sanitiser.
After the viewing
• We will not hold feedback discussions with the prospective buyer inside the property at the end of the viewing. This will
either be conducted outside the property, maintaining social distancing, or through a follow up call.
• Once the viewing has taken place, the homeowner should ensure surfaces, such as door handles, are cleaned with standard
household cleaning products and towels disposed of safely or washed as appropriate.
• Our agent will remove any wipes, tissues etc which they have personally used during the appointment and dispose of them
as appropriate. We will also ask any prospective buyers to do the same.
• If we have been issued keys to conduct a viewing on an unoccupied property and they are due to be returned to you, we will
make sure they are appropriately cleaned before handover.