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Government Guidelines When Buying & Selling Property

 Mark Beaumont estate agents The Prudential Bulding Lewisham at night
The government has at last issued extensive advice on home moving and the activities of estate agents during the continuing Coronavirus crisis.
This came last evening after days of debate on how much marketing, valuing, viewing and conveyancing could be done during the lockdown.
Here is the guidance in full:
There is no need to pull out of transactions, but we all need to ensure we are following guidance to stay at home and away from others at all times, including the specific measures for those who are presenting symptoms, self-isolating or shielding. Prioritising the health of individuals and the public must be the priority.
Where the property being moved into is vacant, then you can continue with this transaction although you should follow the guidance in this document on home removals. Where the property is currently occupied, we encourage all parties to do all they can to amicably agree alternative dates to move, for a time when it is likely that stay-at-home measures against Coronavirus (COVID-19) will no longer be in place.
In the new emergency enforcement powers that the police have been given to respond to Coronavirus, there is an exemption for critical home moves, in the event that a new date is unable to be agreed.
Recognising parties will need to alter common practice, we have sought to ease this process for all involved by:
Issuing this guidance, developed with Public Health England, to home buyers and those involved in the selling and moving process;
Agreeing with banks that mortgage offers should be extended where delay to completions takes place in order to prioritise safety; and,
Working with Conveyancers to develop a standard legal process for moving completion dates.
Advice to the public
What does this mean for my property move which is scheduled whilst the stay-at-home measures to fight Coronavirus (COIVD-19) apply?
Home buyers and renters should, where possible, delay moving to a new house while measures are in place to fight Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Our advice is that if you have already exchanged contracts and the property is currently occupied then all parties should work together to agree a delay or another way to resolve this matter.
If moving is unavoidable for contractual reasons and the parties are unable to reach an agreement to delay, people must follow advice on staying away from others to minimise the spread of the virus.
In line with Government’s advice, anyone with symptoms, self-isolating or shielding from the virus, should follow medical advice which will mean not moving house for the time being, if at all possible. All parties should prioritise agreeing amicable arrangements to change move dates for individuals in this group, or where someone in a chain is in this group.
What if an extension goes beyond the terms of a mortgage agreement?
UK Finance have today confirmed that, to support customers who have already exchanged contracts for house purchases and set dates for completion, all mortgage lenders are working to find ways to enable customers who have exchanged contracts to extend their mortgage offer for up to three months to enable them to move at a later date.
If a customer’s circumstances change during this three month period or the terms of the house purchase change significantly and continuing with the mortgage would cause house buyers to face financial hardship, lenders will work with customers to help them manage their finances as a matter of urgency.
If your home is not yet on the market
Getting your home onto the market may be more challenging than usual in this period.There should be no visitors to your home. You can speak to Estate Agents over the phone and they will be able to give you general advice about the local property market and handle certain matters remotely but they will not be able to start actively marketing your home in the usual manner.
If you are thinking about selling, you can use this time to start gathering together all of the information you will need to provide to potential purchasers.
Advice for people to stay at home and away from others means you should not invite unnecessary visitors into your home, including: Property Agents to carry out a market appraisal or take internal photographs prior to marketing your home; and Energy Performance Certificate assessors.
If your property is already on the market, you can continue to advertise it as being for sale but you should not allow people in to view your property.
There should not be any visitors into your home, and you should therefore not let people visit your property for viewings. Your agent may be able to conduct virtual viewings and you could speak to them about this possibility.
Accepting offers
The buying and selling process can continue during this period but you should be aware that the process is likely to take longer than normal.
You are free to continue to accept offers on your property, however the selling process may take longer.
Advice for people to stay at home and away from others means you should not invite visitors into your home, including prospective buyers or advisors.
Exchanging contracts
Once you have exchanged contracts, you have entered into a legal agreement to purchase that home.
If the property you are purchasing in unoccupied you can continue with the transaction.
If the property you are purchasing is currently occupied, we recommend that all parties should work either delay the exchange of contracts until after the period where stay-at-home measures to fight Coronavirus (COVID-19) are in place, or include explicit contractual provisions to take account of the risks presented by the virus.
Advice to industry
All businesses must follow the Government’s latest Guidance for employers and businesses on Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Estate Agents
Estate Agents should ensure they are able to support clients during this period:
Agents should work with their clients and other agents to broker a new date to move where sales are due to complete on occupied properties in the current period where emergency measures are in place to fight Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Agents should prioritise support for anyone with symptoms, self-isolating or shielding from the virus, and those they are in chain with, to agree a new date.
In line with advice for certain businesses to close, agents should not open branches to the public during this period, or visit people’s homes to carry out market appraisals.
Agents should ensure that employees can work from home, to support existing clients and advise potential new clients.
Agents should continue to progress sales where this can be done whilst following guidance to stay at home and away from others.
Agents should advise clients to be patient and not to exchange contracts unless the contracts have explicit terms to manage the timing risks presented by the virus.
( Beaumont Gibbs are fully operational, with all staff safely working from home, with access to all of our systems. We will be doing our upmost to help all our clients or any member of the public that may need some advice. )
Solicitors and Licenced Conveyancers
Conveyancers should continue to support the sales process as far as possible and should make sure their clients are aware of the difficulties of completing transactions in this period:
Conveyancers should continue to support the sales of unoccupied properties as far as possible.
Conveyancers should make every effort to support clients who are due to complete on occupied properties in the stay-at-home period to change this date.
Conveyancers should advise their clients who are ready to move not to exchange contracts on an occupied property unless they have made explicit provision for the risks presented by the virus.
Conveyancers should prioritise support anyone with symptoms, self-isolating or shielding from the virus and those they are in chain with, and we urge them to do all they can to help a new date to be agreed in these circumstances.
Surveyors should not expect to carry out non-urgent surveys in homes where people are in residence, and no inspections should take place if any person in the property is showing symptoms, self-isolating or being shielded. It may be possible to carry out some of your work online and also carry out urgent surveys on empty properties, or those where the occupants are out of the property or following guidance to stay at home and away from others.
Surveyors should follow the latest Government guidance which currently (26 March 2020) states that work carried out in people’s homes can continue, provided the trades person is well and has no symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19).
It is important to ensure Government guidelines are followed, including maintaining a 2 meter distance from others, and washing their hands with soap and water often for at least 20 seconds (or using hand sanitiser gel if soap and water is not available).
No work should be carried out by a person who has Coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, however mild.
Removals Firms
There will be people who have already committed to moving home; where possible we are encouraging them to delay their move but a small number of moves may need to go ahead. We would urge everyone to take all sensible precautions to ensure the move can happen safely.
Removers should honour their existing commitments where it is clear that the move can be done safely for the client and your own staff and it is clear that the moving date cannot be moved.
Removers should follow the latest Government guidance which currently (26 March 2020) states that work carried out in people’s homes can continue, provided the trades person is well and has no symptoms or Coronavirus (COVID-19).
It is important to ensure Government guidelines are followed, including maintaining a 2 meter distance from others, and washing their hands with soap and water often for at least 20 seconds (or using hand sanitiser gel if soap and water is not available).
No work should be carried out by a person who has Coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, however mild.
I hope this article was of help and should you need any further assistance, please do not hesitate to get in touch with one of my team.
Best wishes


We are still open.

Just not from the usual place.

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As the spread of Covid-19 continues and in line with the latest Government advice, we have taken the decision to temporarily close our offices and move to remote working across, sales, lettings and property management.

Our staff are at the forefront of everything that we do and this has not changed.

We are still here and open for business, just not from our usual place. Whether you are midway through a move or thinking about it, or if you would just like some property advice.


We will be delighted to speak with you. As ever our advice will be informed  by the latest thinking and research, local market knowledge, and insight.

We are ready willing and able to offer help, and advice during this extraordinary time.

For the last 20 years we have worked with the people of South London and will continue to do so.


Catford a nice spot to live

Screenshot 20200317 163837

Lewisham Council is investing in a masterplan framework – a vision to be developed in collaboration with the community – that aims to map out how the town will look in the 2030s. The council has appointed Studio Egret West, along with Carl Turner Architects, Civic Engineers and Greengage, to draw up the masterplan for Catford town centre.

Over the past decade, Catford has transformed into a buzzing South-East London suburb,developing into one of London’s buzziest places to be. That’s, in part, because of it’s proximity to Central London (London Bridge is just 11 minutes by train, while Charing Cross is just 19 minutes), but the area has also been invaded by trendy cafés, bars and a monthly food market, which is separate from the daily Catford marketbut interestingly has avoided gentrification, unlike neighbouring locations such as Crystal Palace. Catford is also a good spot for vintage lovers. Places such Archibald's A cosy, friendly cafe in south London with old school (but stylish) furniture, an outdoor seating area. Broadway Theatre that was built in 1932 and plays host to all kinds of performances from comedy, plays, awards nights to film screenings. Halcyon Books, It's a Second hand and antiquarian bookshop serving tea and freshly ground coffee.They  also have a secret garden in the back and plenty of seating to lounge around.

 The house market is also performing really well, sold prices in Catford over the last year were 9% up on the previus year and 4% up on 2017 levels. Catford has an overall average price of £447,710 (Rigtmove) with flats selling for an average of £316,399. 

It’s certainly possible that where Catford goes, others will soon follow when it comes to regeneration without gentrification, and improvement without exclusion.


 If you need further assistance with your property, then contact us today we offer yo a personal apraisal or an online valuation avaiable on  it gives you an idea of the property's value in 60 seconds!





electrical safety



For existing tenancies, an electrical safety test will need to be carried out by 1 April 2021, with regular tests in accordance with the new regulations, which will apply to all properties across the PRS. A breach of the regulations could see landlords fined up to £30,000. The electrical safety regulations apply to Residential tenancies where tenants have the right to occupy either all or part of a premises as their only or main residence, they pay a rent, and it is not listed as an excluded tenancy. The regulations currently only apply to rental properties in England only. And the regulations replace those already in place for HMOs.

 If the electrical safety report identifies a fault or potential fault, which the landlord must either investigate further or repair, the landlord must ensure further investigations or repairs are completed by a qualified person. Following these further investigations or repairs, the landlord must ensure they receive written confirmation that these have been carried out and that either the electrical safety standards are met, or further work is required. This confirmation must be supplied to each existing tenant and to the local housing authority  along with the original report identifying further work is required. This process must be repeated until the electrical installation is found to be compliant. The report will need to be supplied to new tenants before they move in, to existing tenants within 28 days of receiving it, and to any prospective tenant within 28 days of their request to view the report.

 Landlords can review ways to fund improvements on the government’s website:

New Year Housing Market 2020

2020 = Looking positive.

2019 = annus horribilis in the words of our Queen.

Since the election result at the end of 2019 we have already noticed positivity returning to the market. We are registering many more buyers, all keen to move to our little corner of South London.  Applicants are registering, from North, East, West and South West London.  The gentryfication continues.

We are targetting a bumper year.  Positivity has returned. Watch this space.

Property Wanted to sell. Urgently.

Landlords wanted urgently - tenant demand is outstripping supply and rents are rising.

#AskBeaumont @markbeaumontcom

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Finally, the Electrical Safety Regulationson residential rented homes are to become Mandatory.

The first and second full working weeks of January 2020 have already been super busy, with, amongst other things an announcement from Government that The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020.

What does this mean for landlords? Are coming into force.

In short, there will no longer be this "should we, shouldn't we test electrics" attitude. Understandably, it is difficult for anyone to understand that if legislation is not in place, why should they be forced to carry out testing. But, with the best will in the world, letting agents explain over and over, that should an accident or fire (electrics related) occur, the landlord WILL be liable. This has been the case forever.

Time-Frames - Another Transitionary Period

With the approval of the Houses of Commons and Lords, landlords and agents will need to ensure electrical installation inspections and testing are carried out for ALL NEW tenancies in England from 1 July 2020 or from 1 April 2021 for EXISTING tenancies. This helps with planning and preparation for landlords, agents and of course, electrical engineers.

Every fixed electrical installation will be inspected and tested at least every five years by a qualified person.

What about the Electrical Certificate?

As per the regulations the landlord is required to obtain a report of the results of the inspection and test, supply it to each tenant within 28 days and retain a copy until the next inspection is due.

A copy of the most recent report must be supplied to any new tenant before they take occupation, or provided to any prospective tenant within 28 days of a request from the prospective tenant.

If requested, the report must be provided to the local housing authority within 7 days.


The Regulations will require local authorities to enforce the regulations. The local authority will have the power to arrange and impose remedial action.

Breaches, if proven, can result in a financial penalty of up to £30,000.

For more information contact:

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#AskBeaumont @markbeaumontcom


Current Vacancies

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Moving home is a big decision, for some, it’s once in a lifetime.  Even if you’re a few months or several years away from putting a For Sale sign in your front garden, it’s important to know what to expect. Selling your house is a big event but it doesn’t need to be a stressful experience. Some estate agents take pride in caring for customers. That’s why you don’t need just any agent. You certainly do not want the cheapest or the agent who gave you the highest valuation.  You need the right agent, and independent, established and honest agent.  An agent who can negotiate the best deal for you, someone you can trust and sell your house fast or slow, depending on you! Of course, an estate agent with the experience to handle any problems, a proven, established professional who has experience and can sell your home for the most money in the shortest amount of time!   An agent with good customer feedback – genuine feedback.







A good estate agent will make you money, they will negotiate better and earn their fee. Statistically, agents achieve a far higher selling price with a lower abortive percentage than homeowners selling the home themselves. In an attempt to avoid paying commission, sellers are sometimes leaving money on the table during the negotiation. “Often the selling price an agent achieves is enough to cover their commission and more. How do agents do this? They have the experience and resources to price the home appropriately,”. Studies show that if homes are correctly priced when listed, they will sell faster and for a better price than those listed at overinflated prices. A property sale is probably one of the biggest deals that a seller will make in their lives, so why not use a seasoned professional with honed negotiating skills? Selling a home is a complicated endeavour that involves a lot of paperwork that needs to be filled out correctly. An agent will know the ins and outs of what is required and how it needs to be addressed. “Due to the nature of property sales and the huge financial impact it can have on people’s lives, the right estate agent can add value and be a helpful, professional guide for homeowners to rely on.” Listing the home with an agent also means that the seller will get the agent’s marketing power, access to their network and connections.






At least the best way to have a great experience selling your home is to partner with a professional agent, someone you connect with.  The right agent should guide you every step of the way without taking over the driver’s seat. They should inform you but not overwhelm you. 


#AskBeaumont since #1999 Here to help and add value.


2018 was a very testing time to sell. Rightmove (other portals are available  on the market) published stats showing the average length of time for properties on the market was over 200 days. That's as high as I can remember in 30+ years.

We had a few things happen at once in 2016. A referendum, a #Brexit Vote, endless negative media of doom and gloom, of talking our Country down. We have had an election. Elections always make the housing market quiet. We had talk of cliff edges and a barrage of worst-case scenarios for our economy. What a lot of people missed was the disappearance of the investor buyers since the Government introduced an extra 3% stamp duty charge for investors. As well, don't forget the Governor of the Bank of England, predicting a house market crash of 30%. 'Poppycock'. When he predicted this, already in this little corner of South East London, prices were down circa 15% (more/less in some Boroughs). In 2016 the house market in London was over inflated. A bubble, which would inevitably burst at some point.

brexit housing

And now? Since Christmas, we have SOLD, just about EVERYTHING. This is not an exaggeration.

Over the years I have learnt that when there is economic woe, people shelve plans, postpone big commitments. But they only do this for so long. If you need to buy a bigger house for your growing family, then you can't put it off forever. Or, if you are in rented accommodation and you really want to buy, then every month you delay you are just helping to pay someone else's mortgage off, so at some point, you just need to jump into the market. You take out a mortgage over 25/30 years, so the sooner you start paying it off, the better. It seems to me that we have reached that point in 2019. We have SOLD nearly EVERYTHING.

sld everything

Are you WAITING? If you have been thinking of selling and maybe you have been waiting for something? Perhaps you have been waiting for #Brexit to get out of the way. I will tell you, today, now, this moment, is a GOOD TIME TO SELL. Some of the SALES that we have agreed have RESERVE buyers. We now have potential buyers registered, who have been looking for over a year, they have viewed 20/30 properties and they are now ready to buy. When I talk to these applicants, they have seen enough property and they will buy the right property, when I offer it to them. But I am almost out of stock to sell. In all seriousness, If you was thinking of selling at some point this year, then NOW, could be a wonderful opportunity.

I am available to discuss the plans of property, movers and shakers via email/phone or social media, it will be great to hear from you.

Mark Beaumont
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  
020 8852 5000