Can I move house during new coronavirus lockdown?


MOVING home can be stressful at the best of times, even more so when the country is in lockdown.

So what are the rules when it comes to moving under the second coronavirus national lockdown, which is in place until December 2?

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 Moving house was not specifically addressed by Boris Johnson in his speech on Saturday, October 31, 2020.

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Moving house was not specifically addressed by Boris Johnson in his speech on Saturday, October 31, 2020.

Can I move house during the second coronavirus lockdown?

Moving house was not specifically addressed by Boris Johnson in his speech on Saturday, October 31, 2020.

Rules around moving house in England have also not been set out in writing under the new lockdown laws published on the Government’s website.

However, house moves were allowed under the first lockdown in the spring and in Wales people are allowed to move home under the two-week firebreak lockdown.

England

Previous government advice on its  website: “You are free to move home. However, you may find the process of searching for and moving into a new home is different, as property agents, conveyancers and other professionals have modified how they work to reduce the risk from COVID-19.”

The Health Protection Regulations 2020 state that people may leave their home “to undertake any of the following activities in connection with the purchase, sale, letting or rental of a residential property”.

This includes showing people round their homes, viewing homes to potentially buy or rent, visiting estate or letting agents, developer sales offices or show homes and moving house.

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Anyone self-isolating in the UK is still being told not to move home during this period, and to not let people inside their homes for viewings. The government also recommended people do “as much of the packing yourself as you can” when moving.

 People are able to move house during the second lockdown in England - but the government have advised that advice may change

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People are able to move house during the second lockdown in England – but the government have advised that advice may changeCredit: Annie Eagle

Wales

In Wales, you can still move house during the two-week firebreaker lockdown, which is in place until November 9.

However, this is only on the basis that the moving process cannot wait until the lockdown is over.

But sadly, viewings cannot take place during the firebreak period in order to comply with social distancing guidelines.
As high street estate agents are required to close during this period, viewings will have to take place online.

Additionally, the Welsh government website says that no evictions are allowed to take place during the two-week firebreak lockdown.

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland people are able to move home during the circuit breaker lockdown – albeit with a few changes in place.

Initial viewings should be done virtually wherever possible.

Physical viewings can take place but are limited to members of the same household.

On top of this, the current tenant and the viewers must not be self-isolating.

 Removals can take place in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

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Removals can take place in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern IrelandCredit: Alamy

While attending viewings, people are urged not to touch surfaces and are required to sanitise your hands regularly and wear face coverings for the duration of a viewing.

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Estate agents, photographers, videographers and Energy Performance Assessors can visit in order to get the property on the market, while removal firms can still operate.

Scotland

Moving home is allowed in all five levels of Scotland’s circuit breaker lockdown – providing it can be carried out safely.

Relevant businesses, such as estate agents and removal companies, can also continue to support people to move home during Scotland’s lockdown.

The Scottish Government’s website says Scot can still physically attend home viewings.

But potential buyers must remain at least a two metre distance from other people ans all parties are expected to wash their hands regularly

Can I still buy a house during the second lockdown?

Under the Health Protection Regulations 2020, potential buyers can now legally be shown around homes and visit estate agents in England.

Speculative viewings where neither party is serious about the sale, are “seriously discouraged”.

It comes as property prices are expected to fall due to the coronavirus disruption.

 The rules around house viewings and moving differ slightly between the four nations of the United Kingdom

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The rules around house viewings and moving differ slightly between the four nations of the United KingdomCredit: Alamy

What are the rules around visiting a property?

If you wish to visit a property in person, the visit must be by appointment only with no open house dates.

They recommend that viewings should be done virtually “where possible” and all physical viewings should not involve more than two households.

Agents, buyers and sellers will also have to follow strict social distancing measures.

This means sellers should vacate properties for viewings – standing in the garden where possible – and ensure all doors are open.

Surfaces, including door handles, must be thoroughly cleaned.

Meanwhile, buyers and agents have been told to wash their hands upon entering properties.





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