25th March 2020

New working practices regarding the Coronavirus

New working practices

Tuesday 24th March marked the first day of a new 3 week period which will impact all of our lives considerably. We want to assure you that whilst we are following the government’s advice, we have the welfare of our staff, our communities, and our service contractors at the forefront of our minds with every decision taken. We know this is tough, but we are still here for you!

We have a ‘virtual office’ with staff set up at home so we can continue to take phone calls and emails and continue with business a usual as far as we possibly can.

Latest Government Advice

The single most important action we can all take, in fighting coronavirus, is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives. When we reduce our day-to-day contact with other people, we will reduce the spread of the infection. That is why the government is now introducing three new measures.

  • Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes
  • Closing non-essential shops and community spaces
  • Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public

Every citizen must comply with these new measures. The relevant authorities, including the police, will be given the powers to enforce them – including through fines and dispersing gatherings. These measures are effective immediately. The Government will look again at these measures in three weeks and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible.

For more information on how to comply with these new measures, please click here.

Company Advice

Property Sales

Certain staff are working remotely to ensure that agreed sales continue to progress and to deal with ongoing property enquiries. Unfortunately based on current advice it is not possible to arrange any viewings or valuations.  We will be happy to take your calls or emails about a property or answer general questions about the property market in Chester.

Maintenance Contractors – Apartment Blocks

In line with the government’s latest Coronavirus advice, essential building maintenance workers are permitted to continue attending sites – while practising social distancing.  As large numbers of people are at home, the requirement for building safety, cleaning and maintenance is even greater than normal. Site attendance will continue unless and/or until the Government’s advice changes. We are grateful to these service people who continue to serve the development and community during these challenging times. We ask that you show your appreciation, while remaining conscious of the social distancing requirements.

Maintenance Requests – Rental Properties

We will only be able to authorise essential/emergency maintenance as stated in the government guidelines. All other maintenance will be recorded and processed to be assessed and completed when possible.  Our number one priority is for the safety of yourselves and our contractors as I am sure you will understand.

A few examples of maintenance issues considered to be emergencies are listed below:

  • No heating or hot water
  • Serious leaks from internal or external of the property
  • Fridge/Freezer, Oven and Hob faults which deem the appliance unusable
  • Security Issue for example broken lock on front or back door meaning to way to ensure safety of access to the property

Please report maintenance issues to josh@matthewsofchester.com and lettings@matthewsofchester.com with as much detail as you can to allow the work to be actioned at the earliest date with as limited time delay as possible.  

Our emergency ‘Out of Hours’ service remains in place and will continue to function. This will come with the same guidelines regarding precautions regarding social distancing and good practice during visits. This service will only be actioned for genuine emergencies that cannot wait for normal working hours for example large leaks which will cause mass damage if not treated immediately.

To co-operate with government guidelines regarding social distancing, our contractors will be calling you before attending the job and advising of the policy we have in place.  This involves providing the contractor with the safest area possible to work in by possibly isolating yourself away from the contractor for the duration of the visit. These guidelines are in place to protect yourselves and our contractors.

Office

Following the government’s latest Coronavirus advice, our office teams are now working remotely. If you need to contact us, please visit the contact us section of our website. If you need to email us, please make sure your email includes your name and phone number. We will respond as promptly as we can in the current circumstances.

Please email either sales@matthewsofchester.com, lettings@matthewsofchester.com or blocks@matthewsofchester.com depending upon your enquiry.

Service Charge & Arrears

It is important to realise that the estate will continue to receive bills that will need to be paid. For example, there will still be things like insurance premiums, electricity bills, and invoices from contractors who will be servicing the development for things like cleaning and the maintenance of critical systems (eg. fire, mechanical plant etc).

As more people are home-based, it may put pressure on the service charges so anything that you can do to help minimise this pressure will benefit everyone who pays the service charge. For example, by not disposing of excessive refuse in any bin stores.

Where possible, we will do our best to accommodate the situation as it evolves.

Rental payments and arrears

Similarly, rents will remain due, including student properties and must be paid in accordance with your contract wherever possible. The government is offering assistance and it is worth keeping up to date by visiting the government website.

NHS Do’s and Don’ts

To help reduce the chance of Coronavirus spreading, the NHS have issued advice including some “Do’s” and “Don’ts”:

 Do:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds and always before and after eating food
  • Always wash your hands when you get home or into work, especially if you commute via public transport
  • Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • Put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
  • Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell

Don’t:

  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

Please take appropriate steps to take care of yourselves and follow the government’s advice as it gets updated.

We thank you for your understanding as we work through this challenging and evolving situation. The most important thing we can all do though, is to keep following the latest advice which can be found here.

Stay safe and take care.


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