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Note of caution regarding virtual viewings

by ARPM

The lettings industry has adapted amazingly well to lockdown conditions, quickly embracing virtual viewings, videos, live viewings and tours filmed by incumbent tenants. While these socially-distanced methods of showing a property to prospective tenants are working really well, there is a note of caution sounded by The Property Ombudsman (TPO).

It is warning agents to be mindful of Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (CPR) when using remote viewings for fear of a rise in complaints from tenants who took on rental properties based on video evidence, and not a physical viewing.

The TPO is currently working to establish best practice guidelines regarding video and virtual viewings, which will ‘give agents a defence against enforcement action’ when agreeing tenancies in a remote capacity. For now, current advice for letting agents using videos and virtual tours includes:

  • View any videos filmed by incumbent tenants before they are sent out to prospective movers to check for accuracy
  • Send prospective tenants copies of material information – photos, floor plans and property details – in the post and electronically
  • Make a download file of the video or virtual tour available for prospective tenants to view at their leisure
  • Keep video and virtual tour files in cloud storage, should they need to be provided as evidence
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