During these uncertain times, we’re still doing everything we can to help keep you moving. As of 24/03/20, our branches have temporarily closed to comply with government directions and to keep our staff and customers safe.
We’re still open for business, just in a different way. We are working remotely to ensure that all areas of the business remain functioning and supported and ensure the health and safety of our employees and customers.
We also understand that some of the greatest difficulties of the next few weeks and months of isolation will come from loss of social interaction. As such, please look to our social profiles and website where we will keep you up to date with any changes, share tips and advice, and foster a community.
Take care of yourselves and if you’d like to get in touch with any queries or concerns, we’d love to hear from you.
My Local branch is closed are you still open for business?
Absolutely, in accordance with government guidelines our physical offices are closed but your local Humberts team are just a phone call or email away using their normal contact details, available to help with whatever you need at this time.
How will you market my property during this time?
In short, just as we would have before. With 90% of people starting their search online and with screen time increased by 185% it is more important than ever to ensure your property is presented in the best light across all our internet portals. Your property will still appear on all our usual websites including Rightmove, Zoopla, Prime Location and OnTheMarket, as well as on our own Humberts.com website. We are also promoting our properties and their various features through our social media channels including Facebook and Instagram as well as being in contact with our current and expanding database of buyers via text, phone and email. We are constantly coming up with new and innovative ways to market your home so do get in touch to discuss your specific requirements.
How will people view my property?
At Humberts we are following the government’s social distancing policy so unfortunately Face to Face appointments are off the cards right now. Instead, we are adapting our processes to offer prospective buyers and tenants the opportunity to view your property from the comfort and safety of their own home through video tours and hosted virtual viewings. If you have any questions about how this works do contact your local branch who will be happy to discuss the options available.
Can you still progress my property sale?
We will progress your sale to exchange of contracts in the same way that we normally would. Many solicitors are working remotely to continue handling your sale, but it is important to be aware that with staff shortages in many conveyancing firms, delays may be expected. Contact your solicitor for more information about how their firm is handling things. Your personal situation, including your chain, will be in a unique position and we recommend that you maintain regular communication with your solicitor who will keep you fully informed of the situation as it develops. At Humberts we are all here to help and if you need any advice or assistance, we are just a phone call away.
What will happen if my sale falls through?
We are experts at progressing sales and managing chains, liaising with all the key parties to do everything in our power to ensure your chain does not collapse. These are uncertain times however and in the unfortunate event that your sale does fall through we will discuss the best way forward for you, your property and your circumstances.
Can I still get a valuation?
Yes. We cannot visit in person at this present time but instead we can offer a virtual valuation appointment where we can undertake everything we would normally do through mediums such as Zoom, WhatsApp and Facetime. Using this, we can be one step ahead to market your property swiftly when it is safe to do so. Contact your local Humberts branch to find out what they can do for you.
Am I likely to get less for my property following the end of the crisis?
These are indeed uncertain times in the economy, but we believe that the market will recover very quickly when restrictions are lifted. The start of the year showed a buoyant market with increased demand and we believe with the support and schemes that have been put in place by the government this should stabilise the property market and result in a flat market in terms of price. We will though, as ever, keep you up to date with latest market trends as the situation progresses and do feel free to give us a call to discuss any specific concerns that you may have.
Can I still get a mortgage?
After the initial knee jerk reaction of lenders withdrawing mortgages, the market has already started to come back with lending improving and loan to values going up. Contact your local branch who will be able to put you in touch with a specialist advisor to provide you with an up to date position on what you could borrow. Application delays are to be expected as valuation appointments are put on hold however some lenders are doing desktop and remote valuations to avoid this. We would advise contacting your lender or broker to find out how they are handling things.
Can I still view property through you?
We can set up virtual viewing tours for many of our properties. Contact your local branch for more details on which properties are available to view virtually.
Am I able to exchange and complete on my purchase/sale?
The government guidelines state that travel must be essential so this goes for any proposed travel for moving. The general guidance from solicitors is that properties that have already exchanged can complete so long as social distancing measures are put in place and that completions on empty properties can also go ahead where social distancing measures can be adhered to. We will work with you and your solicitor to schedule your moving date at an appropriate time.
Should I put my purchase on hold or pull out?
At this stage there is no reason to put your property purchase on hold. Government advice states that, “There is no need to pull out of transactions “. The majority of solicitors are working remotely and are able to process your transaction normally, so they are ready to exchange and set a completion date when it is safe to do so.
How will you market my property during this time?
In short, just as we would have before. With 90% of people starting their search online and with screen time increased by 185% it is more important than ever to ensure your property is presented in the best light across all our internet portals. Your property will still appear on all our usual websites including Rightmove, Zoopla, and Prime Location as well as on our own Humberts.com website. We shall also be promoting our properties and their various features through our social media channels including Facebook and Instagram as well as being in contact with our current and expanding database of buyers via text, phone and email. We are constantly coming up with new and innovative ways to market your home so do get in touch to discuss your specific requirements.
How will you manage any problems my tenants have?
For our managed properties all issues should be reported to us as normal and we are here and available to take calls and email so usual. We will continue to provide essential maintenance with emergencies taking priority where our contractors are still able to safely enter the property. Any non-essential maintenance will be scheduled for an appropriate time in line with government guidance. Should a tenant refuse access to a property as they are self-isolating or for any other associated reason, we will follow government advice and won't enter the property until it's safe to do so.
What happens if repair, maintenance work or a compliance certificate is needed and the tenants won’t allow access for the contractor?
It is still the requirement of the Landlord to ensure the property is safe and legally compliant which means landlords are required to take the same steps they would normally to do this. If access is refused more than one attempt should be made and a record should be kept of each time the tenants refuse access, this will be required as if you were challenged about non-compliance. Work should then be booked in as soon as possible when restrictions have been lifted.
Are scheduled property visits going ahead?
In accordance with government guidelines regarding Coronavirus, we are temporarily postponing physical property visits to ensure social distancing measures are adhered to. For some clients we have the ability to carry out interim virtual inspections, if you have any concerns contact your local branch to find out how they can help.
What should I do if my Tenant doesn’t pay the rent and I can’t afford my mortgage as a result?
Tenants are still contractually required to meet their rental obligations however with the impact of Coronavirus many may struggle to do this. We have been assisting our managed landlords with coming to a mutually acceptable solution such as a recued rent and deferred payment plan. Evicting your tenant should be the last resort, so please talk to us for further advice and we will do everything possible to help and support both you and your tenant.
Can I be reimbursed for lost income?
If you have a Landlord-specific insurance, such as a Rent & Legal Protection policy, you may well be protected against the impact of rent arrears. Many Insurance and rent protection policies will pay out in the circumstances but we recommend you contact your insurance provider directly for more guidance as to your particular policy.
Do I still need to pay my rent?
Yes, you are contractually obliged to continue to make your rental payments. The Government has not mandated any suspension or variation of rental payments and has placed no formal obligation on landlords to financially support their tenants during the crisis. You should explore the many new forms of financial support which have been made available in recent weeks before seeking to discuss any payment variations with us or your landlord. Do contact your local branch who will be happy to help point you in the direction of support that could access.
What if I can’t afford to pay my rent, can my landlord help?
If you are unable to pay your rent it is important that you discuss this with us (if we fully manage your property) or with your landlord (if s/he manages it directly with yourself) as soon as possible. You should be ready to provide evidence of your change in financial circumstances and details of other support and options you have explored to be able to pay your rent. Any support landlords may be willing to offer is likely to be influenced by their own personal circumstances and likely to be in the form of a partial deferred payment which means you will need to pay more each month to catch up again. Speak to you landlord or agent to agree a payment plan that will work for everyone.
Can I be evicted from my home during the crisis?
On the 26th March The Coronavirus Act 2020 came into force which concerns the law relating to landlords serving notice to tenants. The notice periods for tenants serving notice remains unchanged but a landlord must now give a tenant a notice of three (3) months; replacing the previous requirement of two (2) weeks and two (2) months respectively. Courts are also currently not accepting claims for possession to give tenants more stability during the crisis. This is initially for a 90 day period from the 27th March 2020, but could be extended further. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t be evicted, simply that proceedings can’t start until towards the end of June at the earliest depending on when notice is served on you.
Are you open for me to report repairs?
Yes, we are open and available by phone and email as usual, please contact your property manager as soon as possible to report any repairs.
What will happen if a repair is needed during lockdown?
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 and only essential maintenance should be carried out during this time, any maintenance that can wait until after lockdown should wait.