A LETTINGS agency is continuing to offer a virtual viewing service despite the government’s decision to open up the property market.

Darlington-based My Property Box has welcomed the easing of restrictions, which allows renters and buyers to view properties in person if they observe social distancing measures.

The company brought forward plans during lockdown to launch an online viewings service after it was contacted by key workers needing to rent homes – as several companies in the area, including Amazon, continued recruiting staff to undertake essential services.

Founder and managing director Ben Quaintrell said: "The easing of restrictions on physical viewings is to be welcomed but we will continue our virtual service for those who wish to use it as part of the ‘new normal’.”

He added: "We had already built up a large stock of video property tours as we were looking to introduce virtual viewings as an added service.

“Other letting agents and estate agents had stopped carrying out physical viewings and with a rising demand for rental properties from key workers, we decided to introduce it straight away.”

The virtual viewing allows the whole process to be completed without human contact, with tenants able to access, upload and sign all documents online.

Even the traditional key exchange is contactless – with keys posted out, left in a key safe at the property or collected from a safe space within the company’s Grange Road headquarters.

It is also launching a similar video property appraisal service for landlords wishing to take up the option.