The situation in the UK is increasingly difficult without any idea when normality will return. However, as a business we are doing everything we can to maintain our service levels.
Challenges facing us are:
- The Government has advised that people should work from home
- Some people are self-isolating, whether that is because they are sick, someone in their family is sick or they have vulnerable people in their household they need to protect
- Schools are starting to close down so parents are having to be at home to look after their children
- Applicant enquiries have fallen by 70%
- Some tenants are concerned that they may not be able to pay their rent
- Some tenants are asking if they can end their tenancy immediately to go back to their home town or to be with their families
- Some tenants are refusing access for viewings and contractors as they do not want to risk catching the virus
We are fortunate that our entire team is all pulling together to work through this with myself and my co-Directors providing as much support as possible.
So what are we doing to keep things running:
- All our offices remain open and fully staffed
- Our teams are still conducting viewings
- Most of our properties have videos and we are carrying out some viewings via Facetime, WhatsApp and WeChat
- Our teams are taking full precautions in wiping all surfaces with anti-bacterial wipes and wearing masks and gloves, where needed
- Our offices are having regular anti-virus cleans
- Our technology allows many of our people to work from home, wherever possible
- Rota schedules have been established for teams that need to come in to offices to enhance social distancing
- Our rent collection and property management teams and processes operate as normal, aside from property inspections which we have halted until things return to normality
- We are reminding tenants that they still have to meet their obligations under their tenancy agreement wherever necessary
- We are setting up contingency plans to keep our services operational if offices are asked to close.
As the situation changes, we will need to evolve but we are well placed to do this. We are small enough to be able to implement changes quickly but large enough to have the resources to allow us to make such changes.
Ultimately, we are a people business and it is the people we work with that matter. Whether that be our employees, our landlords, our tenants or our contractors. Our thoughts are with those people and their families who have been affected by the coronavirus and we hope that as a community we can see this through together.