How to move to a new house safely during coronavirus (Updated January 2021)

UPDATED January 2021

On 4th January 2021, it was announced by Borris Johnson that England was going to enter a national lockdown for the third time. Since the first lockdown across the UK, the property market has boomed – more and more people are choosing to move house for one reason or another. Some questions have been raised on whether restrictions will affect those who are in the process of moving house or planning on moving home soon.

Can I still move house during lockdown?

The government have confirmed that advice on moving during the coronavirus remains unchanged. Similar to the last lockdown, the below can still take place:

  • Removal firms and estate agents can operate
  • Construction sites can and should continue
  • Tradespeople will be able to enter homes
  • But all must follow the Covid safety guidelines 

Can I still view a property in lockdown?

As estate agents in England are remaining open this enables prospective buyers and renters to continue attending viewings with social distancing measures in place. This is great news, however, it is important to always adhere to any safety measures put in place. In some cases you might be required to have a virtual viewing, however, your estate agent will guide you through this process if that’s the case.

Can a friend help me move house during the national lockdown?

Unless absolutely necessary, anyone outside your household or support bubble should not help with the move.

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***Original Article***

On May 13th, the government amended Covid-19 regulations, allowing those who wish to move home to do so. Coronavirus is having a huge impact on buyers, sellers, and conveyancers with much uncertainty in the market.

It is always important to follow sector specific guidance when moving home, especially now due to significant changes because of self-isolation rules. This blog will provide some guidance on how to move safely during the current conditions.

Viewing properties during the pandemic:

Virtual viewings are recommended during this time; however, it is understandable that you would like to physically view properties that you are seriously interested in, and this is allowed for in the regulations. In the circumstance of a physical viewing, it is important to social distance.

Sellers should open all doors prior to viewings and offer handwashing facilities for all parties. Sellers should also vacate the property whilst the visit is taking place.

Agents should accompany buyers but also adhere to social distancing rules and provide information on how parties should act during viewings. All parties should wash their hands prior to the visit and before leaving the property.

Can I move home if I am in a high-risk category?

If you are considered vulnerable, you can still move but extra care should be taken. Carefully consider your situation before you move and inform the relevant healthcare professionals before doing so.

Your move could be deemed ‘low risk’, this is considered safer than a traditional move. For example, if the property is already empty and you are travelling and packing alone. Regardless, it is essential to acknowledge the risk and implement extra precautions.

Moving home whilst self-isolating or if you have tested positive:

You should not move home whilst self-isolating or if you have tested positive and are in isolation because you are at risk of spreading the virus further.

If you are contractually obliged to move whilst you or your family are self-isolating, all parties should re-evaluate. It is essential in this case to discuss different arrangements. You should not move until the isolation period for you and everyone in your household is finished.

How to prepare for a sale and make an offer on a property:

People that are self-isolating and who have tested positive should refrain from letting an agent visit their property. It is not appropriate for anyone to visit your property until all your household have finished the isolation process.

As discussed earlier it is recommended that buyers view properties online first. If you would like to speed up the sales process you could send the agent photos and videos of the property.

When you are ready to make an offer, your legal advisor should be able to carry out searches on your property online and process your transactions. Surveyors should follow government guidance on social distancing rules for working in other homes.

moving house coronavirus

How to move:

Removal companies are still active during this time but are required to adjust their procedures accordingly. Plan ahead and run through the requirements for your move, cleaning the furniture that other people will have to touch.

Pack as much furniture as you can yourself and ensure all doors are open throughout your house. Always keep at least 2 metres distance from the removers and make sure you wash your hands before and after.

How Browell Smith and Co can help:

No two property transactions are the same, especially during the pandemic with complications more challenging than usual. We believe clear communication is essential.  Our specialist team will keep you up to date with developments throughout the legal process.

Our conveyancing team continues to operate digitally whilst working from home and are providing secure video conferencing or telephone appointments to adhere to strict social distancing guidelines. We are adhering to The Law Society’s guidance for conveyancing during COVID-19 which can be found online here.

We are accepting all new enquiries so please do not hesitate to contact us if you are experiencing legal difficulties. Ring 0191 250 3251 to speak to our conveyancing team.

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