Following the announcement made by Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick on Tuesday 12th May setting out plans for the housing market to restart from Wednesday the 13th May, we are pleased to make the following announcement.

Churchwood Stanley are delighted to advise that with immediate effect our critical industry has been allowed to unwind its operational lockdown.

It has been announced that from Wednesday the 13th May Estate agents can open, viewings can be carried out and that those looking to complete on their sales and rentals are now permitted to do so under strict social distancing and safety rules.

This is the first major step for the housing market to return to what we believe will be a new normal and whilst this announcement is welcome and immediate as a socially responsible business Churchwood Stanley is risk-assessing how we will implement deep and critical changes to the way that we will meet and interact with you. Our client's safety and that of our team remains at the forefront of our concern and we have already taken significant measures so that our business can function from remote locations. We expect that many of these measures will remain in place as we transition back to working from the office over the course of the next few weeks.

There is much to do. Priority now will be given to enabling our team to continue to work remotely and/or with more flexible working hours. Our office will be manned however we do not feel it appropriate to open the doors to the general public unless absolutely critical to their moving plans - we will continue to function at a distance unless absolutely necessary and we are implementing changes to our office to ensure it is COVID secure.

We have many vacant properties on our books and viewings, inspections and visits for these are much more straight-forward and these properties are most likely to be the ones immediately available to view. Those that are occupied will be further risk-assessed and viewings may be postponed until the occupier is comfortable with returning to 'normal' or secure safety measures are put in place. For those occupied sales properties we have been rolling out video tours and each client will shortly be contacted with an offer for us to create one for them. This is a large undertaking and will take time to implement fully but we believe this will be an important tool in the new marketplace. Viewings are likely to be restricted to serious buyers in positions to proceed.

Completions will now be encouraged to move forward with strict social distancing protocols. Where possible in all circumstances a member of our team will only meet one person or a couple from one household at our discretion.

The new guidance includes the permission for trades people to operate in homes providing they follow strict social distancing. It remains our policy until further notice that only emergency requests for maintenance will continue to be addressed until further notice.

During the past seven weeks our sales and lettings functions have a significant amount of properties to immediately bring to market and a backlog of potential viewings to arrange. We will shortly be contacting all of those parties to enable a safe plan to bring their houses to market and advise those waiting on viewings how and when we will facilitate them.

It's great to be back and we have much to do. Please bear with us at this very busy time - we're really looking forward to catching up.