Any surveyor conducting a HomeBuyer Report (HBR) can now only do so if all property occupiers have vacated the premises while the internal part of their inspection takes place.

In addition, the firm has urged its surveyors to contact all forthcoming appointments, in order to highlight the changes and to check whether the occupants have had any changes in their circumstances.

All SDL surveyors have a specific post-lockdown inspection procedure, approved by SDL’s lender clients, and the firm said it will continue to keep abreast of guidance from both the government and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), plus it will listen to feedback from its surveyors.

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The firm has also updated its booking script and guidance safety video to reflect these changes.

Simon Jackson, managing director of SDL Surveying, said: “While we might all have hoped to avoid a new national lockdown, given the rise in COVID-19 cases, the increase in hospitalisations and sadly deaths, plus the more potent strain of the disease, there is no doubting this was a decision that needed to be made.

“That said, we feel fortunate to be active in an industry where work can continue, albeit where we feel it’s necessary to up the measures and actions we require our surveyors to undertake, particularly when it comes to spend longer periods of time in the property such as HBRs.

“This is why we are now insisting on a vacated property for such work, and we hope that all parties will understand the reasoning behind this, and it is driven by our commitment to keeping everyone safe when our surveyors are carrying out this work.

“As mentioned, the good news is that we can continue to work, the property market remains open and we are able to work with our lender clients to ensure they can move the transactions and business through their pipelines to completion.”