The Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI) in conjunction with the Property Services Regulatory Authority (PSRA) and the Institute of Professional Auctioneers and Valuers (IPAV) have updated their “Property Services Providers Guidance to implementing Plan for Living with Covid 19” (Guidance) effective from 13 January 2021, following recent Level 5 restrictions.
Key features of the Guidance relevant to those carrying out property or facilities management, buying, selling, leasing and financing property include:
Purchase or Sale of Land
- Engagement of valuers, surveyors and other required professionals to progress the purchase/sale: This is permitted in the following circumstances:
- The property is sale agreed and contracts for sale are drafted.
- The contract for sale is signed subject to conditions.
- Valuations are required by banks or solicitors relating to essential services.
- Emergency circumstances.
Professionals are required to follow sectoral, HSE and Government guidelines
- Valuation inspection: This can occur:
- Where the valuer is engaged prior to the effective date of the Guidance and the valuation is required to facilitate the closing of sale, valuations can proceed in the normal manner. Properties must be unoccupied at the time of appointment. Valuers are to follow HSE and Government guidelines.
- Where the valuer is engaged in new business after the effective date of the Guidance, the valuation must be completed on a drive-by basis only except where inspections are required relating to essential services in emergency circumstances.
- Property viewings: Agents at commencement of engagement by their client may view the property to be placed on the market for sale on their own, unaccompanied by the vendor. Viewings for BER certification and any other requirements on engagement may only be undertaken by individuals who are unaccompanied at the premises. Properties must be unoccupied at the time of appointment.
- Viewings by the public of properties for sale: Properties must be unoccupied at the time of appointment. Viewings by the public permitted of properties by appointment only where:
- The property is agreed and contracts for sale have been drafted; and
- Viewings by one party of two people from the same household is permitted.
- Auctions: No organised indoor or outdoor gatherings should take place – online auctions only.
- Property viewings by estate agent: Rental properties must be vacant (in between tenancies). Agents at commencement of engagement by their client may view the property to be placed on the market for sale on their own, unaccompanied by the client. Viewings for BER certification and any other requirement on engagement may only be undertaken by individuals who are unaccompanied at the premises. Properties must be unoccupied at the time of appointment.
- Viewings by the public of properties for rent: Properties are to be viewed online. No viewings in person are allowed except:
- Where the potential tenant has been offered the property. Viewing of the property takes place prior to signing of the lease and payment of a security deposit.
- In emergency circumstances.
Property Management /Facility Management Services
- Property viewings by management agent: Agents at commencement of engagement by their client, may view the property on their own, unaccompanied by the client and arrange any necessary requirements. All attendance at the property to fulfil necessary requirements must be on an individual basis, unaccompanied by the client.
- Supply, repair, installation and maintenance of machinery and equipment for essential services to businesses and private residences (including electrical, gas, plumbing, glazing and roofing services): Business as usual (in line with the Joint Sector Protocol for Property Services Providers).
- Services relating to electricity, gas, water, sewage and waste management: Business as usual (in line with Joint Sector Protocol for Property Services Providers).
- Services necessary to support any other essential service: (i) the cleaning of buildings: (ii) industrial cleaning activities: Business as usual (in line with Joint Sector Protocol for Property Services Providers).
- Meetings: No organised indoor/outdoor meetings should take place: online meetings only.
The Guidance notes that property service and facility management providers’ offices are to be closed to the public. Staff should work remotely with attendance only where critical to facilitate provision of essential services.
The Guidance (see here) is due to be reviewed again on 31 January 2021, with those managing, maintaining, buying, selling, letting and financing property needing to watch this space to see how this impacts their business.
For more information or advice on projects and construction contracts, including but not limited to facilities management, fit-out contracts, operation and maintenance contracts and construction aspects of property transactions and services, please contact Cassandra Byrne, Jarleth Heneghan or your usual William Fry contact.