Latest News

Agents’ views sought on property listings

20 April 2021

The National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team (NTSELAT) has today, 20 April, launched a consultation to gather information to develop guidance as to what should be considered material information on property listings and portals. Read More...

New Stamp Duty surcharge for non-UK residents

01 April 2021

From today, 1 April 2021, a two per cent higher rate of Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) will apply to purchasers of residential property in England and Northern Ireland who are not resident in the UK. Read More...

Report finds HMRC ‘broadly’ fulfilling AML supervision role

30 March 2021

HMRC has published a self-assessment of its money laundering supervisory performance, which is broadly in line with the relevant Money Laundering Regulations and OPBAS sourcebook, however stating there was room for improvement. Read More...

Guidance for members unchanged as England moves to next stage of roadmap

29 March 2021

From Monday 29 March the UK Government will start to ease lockdown restrictions on social contact, business and activities, and travel in England. Whilst there will be no changes to safety guidance for the property sector, Propertymark is reviewing the guidance that has supported members to work safely and given the UK Government the confidence to allow agents to keep working throughout lockdown. Read More...

 

Agents urged to support lone workers

Wednesday 24 March 2021

With many agents required to work alone, it is important employers put in place measures to ensure their safety. After the tragic disappearance in 1986 of estate agent, Suzy Lamplugh, the Trust, in her name, provides guidance for workers to reduce the risk of violence and aggression.

Lone workers are those who work without close or direct supervision and employers have a duty to assess procedures in place to protect staff, taking steps to avoid or control risks where necessary. This is particularly the case for agents who may be conducting property viewings with clients.

The Suzy Lamplugh Trust has published guidance to support those required to work alone, enabling employers to use the information to keep their staff safe.

Working from home

It is always best practice for agents not to advertise they are working from home. It is advisable to put a ‘buddy’ system in place, so someone is aware of what remote colleagues are doing. Another good practice is to arrange for a colleague to ring a staff member who may be meeting a new client for a viewing ten minutes into the meeting to make sure they’re OK, agreeing a code word for them to use if they are in trouble.

Working with customers

Staff should have the means of communicating with colleagues and a manager if something goes wrong. It is a good idea to have in place a procedure for staff to be able to raise the alarm, enabling them to call for assistance and making sure the system is tested so that everyone knows how to respond if it is triggered. If anyone is handling cash, make sure they keep it out of sight to avoid being seen as a target.

Lone working property viewings

Ahead of any meeting, employers should consider using a tracing system to be aware of where employees are at all times. Risk assessments to identify any risks related to the people, environment, or tasks must also be carried out.

When agents are entering a property, they should familiarise themselves with the exits in case they feel threatened, making sure they know how doors open if they need to leave quickly. It is advisable to tell staff to conduct their own risk assessments and to trust their instincts and leave if they feel uncomfortable or are unsure. When the client arrives, the meeting should be kept to time and not overrun, particularly if there is a long gap between this meeting and the next one (as advised in Propertymark’s Coronavirus safety advice).

View more guidance

Hollie Guard app

An emergency alarm system allowing agents to notify colleagues if they are in trouble can be effective for keeping lone workers safe.

Hollie Guard is an app available for mobile phones which can be activated by shaking the device. This immediately notifies chosen emergency contacts and pinpoints their location, sending audio and visual information to their mobile phones.

Propertymark resources

Propertymark offers a Lone Worker Safety online course aimed at workers who make visits to domestic housing, void properties and business units or required to work in the office.

It provides an outline of health and safety management law and covers the principles of good practice, including mobile phone safety, contingency planning and exit strategies.