Here's how property surveyors are 'flouting' the home report lockdown ban

Here's how property surveyors are 'flouting' the home report lockdown ban
Surveyors say lockdown policy on home reports has lacked clarity

PROPERTY surveyors are flouting lockdown restriction on home reports to get properties on the market, industry insiders have claimed.

According to the current Scottish Government restrictions, home inspections should not be carried out because of social distancing risks and this is not expected to be relaxed until phase two of the route map is launched on June 18.

A number of firms are said to have been carrying out inspections of empty properties since April.

Government officials then issued guidance to estate agents earlier this week saying inspections could be carried out if a house move was, “reasonably necessary" which has led to more properties being advertised.

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Chartered surveyors say the confusion and lack of clarity has penalised firms who have remained closed for business.

In response to our inquiry, the Housing Minister Kevin Stewart confirmed that surveyors could "support a house move if it was reasonably necessary' but did not provide any further clarification on what this means.

One chartered surveyor said: “This is a sensitive subject amongst members of the Royal Institute for Chartered Surveyors at the minute and is of a major concern to firms like ourselves who have remained closed and as a result are losing vital business revenue at this difficult time.

"The housing market is key to the economy but it’s got to be a level playing field.

George Williamson, a mortgage broker, said his West End property firm was working towards the phase two date.

He said:  “There is no real point in carrying out surveys because we can’t do viewings at the moment. Nothing is happening, no one can buy the property.”

Lindsey Archibald, an independent estate agent, said she was aware of surveyors who had been “flouting rules" but is waiting for the green light from the Scottish Government and is optimistic about the industry's recovery.

She said: "Scotland’s estate agents are going to see the initial boom that England saw when restrictions are lifted.

"'I have numerous clients who have signed up with me and we are just waiting for the green light.

"I've also received dozens of requests for people to help find them homes too and over the last weeks there has been a massive surge in enquiries about homes for post lockdown."

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Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said: "Our guidance on moving home did not change as we moved to phase 1 of the route map to lockdown easing.

"Surveyors can continue to support reasonably necessary home moves in the residential property market if they can do so in a way which is fully consistent with health and physical distancing advice."

He said that in all other cases, people should delay plans to move to another property until phase two of the route map."

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