Lease extensions are a daunting task even in the best of circumstances with various strict deadlines in terms of notices and counter-notices, agreement to the premium and specific terms and completion of the documentation procedures. Lease extensions made outside the statutory route may proceed a little more quickly than when carried out under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993, but it is a complicated process nevertheless. Considering all that, a global pandemic further increases the uncertainty to an already challenging task.
Valuations during Covid-19
Irrespective of whether you’re following the statutory route or the voluntary route for your lease extension, it is a good thing to obtain a valuation report from a lease extension specialist surveyor. This valuation report can be prepared by the surveyor either after a physical inspection or from a Desktop Valuation. Needless to mention, desktop valuations have been unaffected by the pandemic situation.
Desktop Valuation is an assessment that is conducted remotely through resources that are available online and completely eliminates the requirement for a physical inspection. It is helpful for people who are unable to arrange access to the property for the surveyor or in case there are time and budget limitations. However, it is important to note that Desktop Valuations are an open-market appraisal of the property that are derived only from information and tools from online sources and can provide an estimate of the market value from a combination of information and experience since there is no physical inspection involved. On the other hand, Desktop Valuations can be completed quickly without the hassle of arranging access to the property and cutting down the time required for the physical survey.
But lately, the housing market has been unlocked with strict government guidelines, which means physical inspections can be carried out as long as everyone follows strict measures to ensure safety, such as following social distancing and good hygiene measures. A physical survey is an advisable option, provided the inspection can be carried out safely with all the protocols in place and provided you’re not self-isolating.
However, if you prefer not to risk somebody being in your property or are self-isolating then you can always opt for a desktop valuation, which can be just as accurate as a physical inspection, as under the law there are certain things the valuer must assume about the internal condition of the property and so does not necessarily need to physically inspect your property.
What should you expect during your valuation?
In order to keep up with the latest government guidelines concerning the Covid-19 situation, a few extra points need to be taken care of by the surveyor as well as the occupants to permit a safe and smooth inspection.
- The surveyor will ensure that nothing has been changed since the appointment was booked
- If anyone is self-isolating in the household, has been diagnosed with Covid-19 or is showing any symptoms, the surveyor will not be able to carry out the inspection and it has to be booked for a later date
- If possible, it is safer for both you and the surveyor if you’re able to leave the house during the survey. Otherwise, you may wait in the living room while the surveyor completes the inspection. If none of this is possible, please follow the surveyor’s instructions as and when they ask you to move so the inspection can be carried out easily
- The Surveyor will start by inspection of the outside front of the house then move to the outside rear. Following that they will move on to sides, outbuildings, garages, then completing the inside of the loft, upstairs, downstairs hall, ground floor WC and finally the living room
- All lights must be on to reduce contact with switches
- All internal doors, loft hatches as well as garage doors must be kept open to prevent physical contact with doors and handles
- Social distancing measures of at least 2 metres must be maintained and any kind of physical contact should be avoided. No handshakes must be exchanged and the surveyors must be equipped with the appropriate PPE
- Other government guidelines specific to your part of the country must also be followed
The damage inflicted by Covid-19 has been massive and is yet to be evaluated, but at the same time, it is important now, more than ever, to plan ahead and ensure that our financial positions are such that we can be prepared for such unforeseen situations in the future.
For the safety of everyone, Leasehold Valuations must be carried out with all protocols and frequent hand washing and good hygiene must be encouraged.