Property: Moving house to viewing homes during new national lockdown – rules and changes
Boris Johnson announces new national lockdown
The property market for renters and buyers will continue to function during the UK’s third national lockdown. Britons looking to move home will still be able to view properties and move during lockdown. Estate agents, moving companies, valuers and others who work in sales and rental offices will be able to continue working.
However, there are some specific rules and regulations that Britons must follow when moving house during lockdown.
Here’s everything you need to know about the latest rules and changes.
Government guidance states: “Estate and letting agents and removals firms can continue to work.
“If you are looking to move, you can go to property viewings.”
However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, property agents and companies are now offering more virtual viewings.
The government website says “initial viewings” should be done virtually “wherever possible”.
Britons should also wear a face covering when viewing a property unless they are exempt.
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Viewings are also required to be arranged by appointment with “open house” viewings, which usually have multiple visitors at once, not being permitted.
When viewing a property, you should avoid touching surfaces and other people’s belongings.
Washing hands regularly or using hand sanitiser is recommended.
Small children should be kept from touching surfaces.
The government website added: “Second homes and other private accommodation can be used to facilitate physical viewings of properties, preparing a property for sale and moving your belongings.”
Internal doors inside a property should be kept open and surfaces, door handles and light switches should be wiped down after each viewing.
If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, you should not view a property and isolate immediately.
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Other changes could also mean that if you are selling your property, you may be required to vacate it while people view it.
You may also need to ensure your property is cleaned before someone else moves in.
The government recommends those moving wash their hands frequently and keep their distance from anyone who is not in their household while they move.
If someone gets coronavirus while you’re moving house, you may have to halt the entire moving process to stop it spreading.
You are also allowed to stay overnight away from home if you need accommodation while moving house.
“Guest accommodation providers such as hotels, B&Bs and caravan parks may remain open for the specific reasons set out in law, including where guests are unable to return to their main residence, use that guest accommodation as their main residence, need accommodation while moving house, are self-isolating as required by law, or would otherwise be made homeless as a result of the accommodation closing,” the government website said.
Those moving to a different property should try and pack their own belongings.
Buyers can arrange for tradespeople and surveyors to visit the property prior to moving in but one person at a time should visit the property.
Movers are being urged to contact removal companies as early as possible before moving home as many may not be operating at the time you need them.
If removal firms are not available when you need them, another household can help you with your belongings.
However, you should maintain social distancing rules and follow hygiene measures.
The government is also advising people to try and wipe down their belongings before they are handled by others.
While removal companies are in your home and helping you move, you should try and keep your doors open and keep at least two metres between yourself and them.
Many Britons have revealed on social media that they will still be moving house during lockdown.
Some have shared their concerns on Twitter after the third national lockdown was announced this evening.
One user said: “Lockdown 3.0 and I’m moving house in a week… it’s all fun and not stressful at all.”
Another said: “Erm so I don’t actual know how I will cope with lockdown three and moving house. Tough times ahead.”
Another user said: “Cannot believe I’m moving house in lockdown 3.0 what an adventure that will be.”
Meanwhile, property experts have said they are not concerned by the latest lockdown news with business continuing “as usual”.
Director of Behnham and Reeves, Marc von Grundherr said: “The latest news of another national lockdown should do little to slow the momentum of the UK property market, given that official government advice still deems it ok to transact and move home.
“As a result, the industry will continue to service the vast number of homebuyers who have entered the market since last spring and this will ensure that many more will benefit from the current stamp duty holiday.
“With no speed bumps in sight for the time being, the market is now clear to accelerate through the gears throughout the coming year and we should see a healthy increase in transactions and price growth over the coming months, if not, across the remainder of the year.”
Managing Director of Enness Global Mortgages, Hugh Wade-Jones, said it’s unlikely there will be a decline in buyer activity and that property prices should continue their “current upward trend”.
He continued: “Billions of pounds in accelerated property transactions are also currently waiting to complete prior to the stamp duty holiday deadline on March 31.
“It would have been a disastrous move for the government to have slammed the door in the face of these aspirational homebuyers so close to the finish line and would have no doubt caused a landslide of property transaction fall throughs and a drop in values had they done so.
“Of course, the industry must continue to operate with immense caution and all physical aspects of the home buying process itself must be met with extreme diligence to ensure the safety of all those involved.”
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