Operations from the 2nd February
Ocean have been closely monitoring the current National Guidance and legislation surrounding Covid and the changes that have come into force for England.
There is no longer the legal requirement for face coverings to be worn in business premises outside of a healthcare setting. With this in mind, we are relaxing the requirement for face covering to be worn in our offices, however, our staff may of course, continue to wear a face mask if they so wish. We will continue to require facemasks to be worn on appointments and in people’s homes. We have also removed the embargo on staff moving between Ocean offices.
Policy Changes From 2nd February 2022
Lateral Flow Tests must be carried out twice per week prior to arriving at work.
Facemasks must be worn on all appointments
Perspex Screens must be used between face to face desk and between staff and clients.
Hand gel must be readily available for staff and clients.
All premises must be ventilated properly where it is possible to do so. Windows and doors to remain open.
Airconditioning/Air Heating Systems must not be used.
Operations from the 19th July
The health and wellbeing of our staff, customers and wider community remain our principle focus through the course of the pandemic. Our services have been safely accessible throughout the year with many thousands of property viewings and home moves taking place, conveyances and mortgages arranged and over 10,000 applicants registered by our team. Whilst the 19th of July marks an end to the legal requirement to follow the safety measures we have in place, Ocean will continue to ensure staff and customer safety is paramount. We will maintain our protocols until such time as the positivity rate substantially falls, or where the assessed risk is reduced.
Masks must be worn by all parties during property viewings unless an exemption is in place.
Screening for Covid-19 symptoms for all customers prior to viewings or market appraisals
Viewings limited to members of one household, preferably with no more than 2 viewers at one time.
Property must be vacated prior to a viewing taking place with internal doors opened and lights switch on.
Our staff will meet clients at the property rather than sharing transport from our branches.
Branch social distancing and the use of Perspex screens to be maintained where adequate distancing is not possible.
Masks must be worn in our branches unless an exemption is in place.
Hand sanitiser will be available at all entry points to Ocean offices.
We will continue to screen our staff for Covid Symptoms and tests all staff twice weekly for Covid-19
Moving home should be a positive and exciting experience, we have proven it can also be done safely with appropriate control measures in place. We look forward to meeting you in our High Street offices, showing you property for sale or let, and discussing all things property online or by telephone.
Our team will be always available to help you plan your next move, we look forward to hearing from you.
Ocean recognises there have been recent spikes in infection for the Bristol, North Somerset & South Gloucestershire areas. Our full Covid-secure policies as set out below have continued to be observed for all employees in recent months and no change is required at this time. We have complete confidence both staff and customers are protected in all business dealings.
Furthermore, we encourage lateral flow testing twice weekly. As stated, we provide paid time of work to attend vaccination appointments. All employees are encouraged to vaccinate.
We continue to monitor the national & local situation closely.
In line with the relaxation of lockdown rules in England we have updated our Covid Policy. We will continue to follow the Government road map and our policy surrounding social distancing with colleagues, clients and the general public will mirror current guidance as set out as published on gov.uk
We have now relaxed the rules surrounding the number of attendees to a viewing. Children may now accompany their parents or guardians on viewings. The rule of 6 and pre-health screening will still apply.
The time spacing between viewing appointments may now be reduced where it is safe to do so. We continue avoid clients coming into contact with each other and attempt to conduct as much communication as possible remotely.
We actively encourage all of our staff who are offered a vaccine, to take the opportunity at the earliest time possible. We allow time out of the office within the business day for vaccine appointments to be taken.
We require all staff to take advantage of the free regular lateral flow testing scheme and carry out twice weekly testing at home.
In line with Government guidance, we will be staying open during the January lockdown to help our Buyers, Sellers, Tenants and Landlords. Our valuations, viewings, conveyancing and mortgage services will continue with all necessary precautions taken to keep our staff and customers safe.
The government has confirmed estate agents in England are permitted to remain open.
The housing market in England will remain open. This means that people looking to move home will be able to both continue with planned moves and view new properties to move into in the future. Estate and lettings agents, removers, valuers and people in sales and lettings offices and show homes will be able to continue working
You can still move home. People outside your household or support bubble should not help with moving house unless absolutely necessary. Estate and letting agents and removals firms can continue to work. If you are looking to move, you can go to property viewings. Follow the national guidance on moving home safely, which includes advice on social distancing, letting fresh air in, and wearing a face covering.
Viewings and valuations
We will be conducting in-person market appraisals and viewings for property to sell or let (with occupants full consent). These will be conducted safely and in accordance with the strictest social distancing guidelines. Click here for our Covid-secure appointments process - sale & rent.
Open on our High Streets
Our offices are open and our teams available to provide our usual exceptional service and support. Please contact us to make an appointment if you need to visit us personally.
The safety of our customers and staff is our absolute priority – rigorous Covid-Secure procedures are in place and we thank you in advance for following the rules on social distancing and helping us keep everyone safe.
The Public Health Regulations that underpin the second national lockdown in England, have been laid by Parliament. Subject to approval, the Regulations specifically state that activities relating to the sector are allowed to continue under Exceptions to leaving home: to undertake any of the following activities in connection with the purchase, sale, letting or rental of a residential property —
(i) visiting estate or letting agents, developer sales offices or show homes;
(ii) viewing residential properties to look for a property to buy or to rent;
(iii) preparing a residential property to move in;
(iv) moving house;
(v) visiting a residential property to undertake any activities required for the rental or sale of that property
As a precautionary measure, we have temporarily closed our Gloucester Road office due to positive cases of Covid within the team. We have taken advice & instruction from 'Public Health England’.
In advance of the full advice and recommendations of Public Health England, we arranged for an office deep clean & full sanitisation. The office will not be reopening until it is confirmed safe to do so.
Our team are committed to maintaining the highest level of service for all of our clients whilst working remotely. Physical viewings of property for sale and to let will be conducted by staff from alternative offices.
In line with the changes in legislation, we require all of our staff operating within Ocean premises that have an open-door policy to the general public, to wear a face-covering at all times. This requirement replaces previous guidance where face coverings were only required when a member of the public entered one of our premises.
Staff and customers do not need to wear a face-covering if they have a legitimate reason not to. This includes (but is not limited to): Children Under 11, because of a physical or mental impairment, to communicate with someone who relies on lip-reading, to identify yourself, to eat or drink.
NHS Test and Trace APP
Following the release of the NHS Test and Trace App, a Test and Trace QR code is displayed at the entrance to each of our premises. Clients wishing to enter our offices will be asked to use the NHS App to register a “Venue Check-In”
Rule of 6
Groups of more than 6 people are no longer allowed to meet or mingle with each other. In the unlikely event, a group of more than 6 people try to access our services, either in a property or within the office environment, we must request the additional party members remain outside of the property or Ocean premises. An exception can be made if the group are from 1 household or support bubble (for example 2 adults and 5 children from the same family)
Please note that individuals who do not follow the Rule of 6 can be fined £200 for a first offence, doubling for further breaches to a maximum of £6,400. And businesses who allow unlawful gatherings are liable for a fine of up to £10,000
As of Friday 24th July 2020, you must, by law wear a face covering when entering a shop or supermarket in England. Whilst Estate Agency offices do not appear to fall under these retail provisions, Ocean's Directors have taken the decision to require customers to wear a face-covering when entering any Ocean Property Services Group Ltd premises. This decision has been made to ensure we continue to make all required and advised measures to ensure the safety of both our staff and customers.
High street offices open for walk-in enquiries - In line with the reopening of non-essential retail shops, we no longer require appointments to be made to visit our offices. We do however continue to encourage all enquiries to be made remotely whenever possible.
All face to face communication must be carried out at the required 2-meter separation and only while using the Perspex guard screen.
Customers visiting our offices will be supplied hand sanitiser on entry.
For our 'Preparing your home for sale - video tours' Blog click here
Our offices are now open (with a reduced team for the time being), on an appointment-only basis.
Rigorous Covid-Secure plans are in place and we thank you in advance for following the rules on social distancing and helping us keep everyone safe.
Viewings and valuations: We are now booking in-person market appraisals and viewings for property to sell or let. These will be conducted safely and in accordance with the strictest social distancing guidelines. Get in touch to book all in-person appointments.
Following today's Government announcement effectively resuming house sales in England, our Covid-Secure plans for our office openings and all in-person appointments now being finalised. Please click here for Ocean estate agents in-office working practice and in-person market appraisals, viewings and other appointments social distancing requirements.
We look forward to opening our High Street offices on Monday 18th May.
The following provisions are to be announced today - “(l) to undertake any of the following activities in connection with the purchase, sale, letting or rental of a residential property— (i) visiting estate or letting agents, developer sales offices or show homes; (ii) viewing residential properties to look for a property to buy or rent; (iii) preparing a residential property to move in;(iv) moving home; (v) visiting a residential property to undertake any activities required for the rental or sale of that property;”
Our final preparations will be completed to ensure all social distancing measures can be undertaken to protect the safety of our staff and customers. Staff returning from furlough will be fully trained as a first priority. Requirements of sellers & landlords to ensure the safety of all visiting persons to their properties will be published later today, 13th May.
Ocean estate agents have over 600 reserved viewing appointments due to our continued 'from home' property marketing, more bookings are expected over the coming days, every effort will be made to confirm appointment dates & times as soon as possible.
We are consulting local removal companies to ensure the best advice to our imminent home movers.
Ocean property lawyers Directors are assessing the implications of today's Government advice fully. We will work within the current guidelines to ensure we exchange & complete our transactions as soon as possible.
Assessments of all furloughed working teams are underway to determine a return to optimum staffing levels to meet customers needs. All social distancing measures will remain an absolute priority to ensure staff and customers safety, and reduce the spread of Coronavirus.
Preparations are now underway to open our offices as soon advised by the Government it is safe for our staff and customers. Risk assessments have been completed. All social distancing measures will be strictly followed to protect our staff, customers and local communities, and to reduce the spread of the virus. We look forward to returning our High streets as soon as possible.
Home visits for viewings, market appraisals, inspections etc. will commence as soon as possible. This will begin once approved and advised by the Government, along with the National Association of Estate Agents, Associated of Residential Lettings Agents. Ocean will follow all Social Distancing guidelines fully, a complete list of safety provisions will be published in due course.
During lockdown Virtual viewings have proven highly successful for our lettings teams, we have been able to facilitate safe moves to vacant properties within the strictest of guidelines for those tenants in need of a home during the lockdown. Other non-essential moves are tentatively scheduled for June onwards subject to the latest Government guidance.
During the lockdown, Virtual viewings have assisted potential buyers shortlist property for sale. Our sales teams now have hundreds of reserved viewing appointments. Preparations are underway to facilitate these physical viewings to the highest safety standards. Protecting the safety of our for sellers, viewers and staff will be our highest priority. A full list of precautions and processes will be made available when real viewings commence.
During lockdown Virtual valuations have also proven popular, we have now completed many and introduced new property for sale. Many more sellers are expected to come to market once lockdown restrictions are eased.
Conveyancing during the Coronavirus crisis. Click here for Ocean property lawyers current conveyancing best advice.
We are currently experiencing a large number of enquiries, please bear with us, we will get back to you as soon as possible
Ocean property lawyers Directors are assessing the implications of the Government advice on the latest 'home moving during the Covid-19 outbreak' fully. We will work within the advice given and do all that we can to exchange & complete our transactions.
Ocean lettings are still assisting tenancy end/check-outs following the latest social distancing guidelines
Ocean lettings are still assisting new tenancy check-ins following the latest social distancing guidelines
Our telephones are diverted, members of our team will still be available to discuss anything property related. Our Move Managers will still be busy ensuring successful exchange of contracts can take place, they can be contacted in the usual way
Our Lettings Move Manager Hub is fully operational via home working, please contact them via email. Our Landlords and suppliers will continue to receive prompt and accurate payments.
Contactor appointments and service requests are now for emergency appointments only
Conveyancing - Ocean property lawyers are continuing to progress all conveyancing matters possible via home working. We are experiencing an increased workload, please use email
Mortgages - Whether it's a re-mortgage or arranging finance for a new purchase, our team remain available to help you find the perfect mortgage. Our independent advisors can easily take you through your options over the phone and online. Contact them in the normal way
Ocean Property Services Group has surveyed the workforce to identify employees or close family members whose underlying health conditions may fall into a high-risk category as published by the UK Government. Individual working practices and special measures may be implemented to protect these individuals.
Each Manager is responsible for the Disease Control Measures implemented within their office. These are to include an enforced hand washing policy on return from off-premises appointments (both business and personal), regular disinfection of desks, door handles, bannisters and equipment and an enforced reduction in person to person contact, for example, shaking hands. Temperatures of all employees in work are taken twice daily
We are encouraging using technology as far as possible to communicate with us. We have improved our response times to emails and telephone calls further
To help cut cross-contamination our team can provide gloves for you and will be wearing them themselves when they meet you and will conduct viewings taking into account social distancing recommendations. The gloves will be disposed of between viewings
We are requesting sellers open internal doors in a property prior to our arrival.
We have increased the spacing between viewings on popular houses and have removed the facility for carrying out block viewings
We have suspended the marketing of property where any member of the household is vulnerable or in self-isolation
We will ask prior to the meeting if any close contacts are of have recently been self-isolating
And if you want to make an offer, let's chat about it outside or we can call you straight after the viewing
We are more than happy to provide you with a virtual valuation if you can’t get out so you can plan your move in advance.
We will be following developments on a daily basis for further information: Gov.UK Coronavirus (COVID-19): Guidance