Updated: Jun 18, 2020
Buyers and renters in England can once again view properties in person and move home. The government has announced that estate agents and show homes can reopen their doors and offer viewings as of mid May. Other property professionals, such as removals companies and house surveyors, are also allowed to recommence work.
After seven weeks on hold, the government freed its restrictions on the property market, allowing buyers and tenants in England to view properties and move home. This news will came as a relief to the 450,000 people the government says have been unable to progress their plans to move since stay-at-home measures were introduced in March. Buyers and sellers in England can now move house, put their homes on the market and view new properties to move into. And estate agents can visit properties to conduct valuations, and take photos and videos.
Although in-person house viewings are now permitted, the government has advised that home movers should conduct the majority of their property searches ONLINE to ward against the spread of coronavirus, which is why we have introduced VIRTUAL VIEWINGS FOR ALL OUR PROPERTIES. Find out more: click here
We only conduct in-person viewings when the buyer or tenant is in a strong position to be able to make a proceedable offer. Open-house viewings aren’t permitted. During viewings, social distancing measures are and must be adopted and we provide disinfectant wipes for our clients along with gloves. Should viewers not attend with their own hand sanitiser / gloves. We ask that doors are left open thus reducing the number of surfaces touched. We also ask all viewers to wear a face covering. Additionally we are stipulating no children, unless babe in arms.
If possible, the current occupants should vacate the property during viewings to minimise contact with other households.
Conveyancers and property solicitors have been able to operate throughout the lockdown and will continue to do so now. The government has reiterated its advice that conveyancers ensure contracts are as flexible as possible to accommodate the risk of moves needing to be delayed if one of the parties shows coronavirus symptoms.
Surveyors are able to undertake property surveys for home buyers, subject to it being by appointment only, with just one person visiting the property at a time. Surveyors should follow social distancing rules. Sellers should ensure the surveyor has access to all parts of the property and should minimise contact, for example by staying in another room. When it comes to mortgage surveys, many banks were offering automated or ‘desktop’ valuations to allow them to process applications.
Removal companies are allowed to operate. Buyers and sellers have been given the following guidance on working with firms: Contact removals firms as early as possible in advance of your move. Do as much of the packing as you can yourself and, where possible, clean your belongings. When the removalists are in your home, open all internal doors so they don’t have to, and adhere to social distancing rules. Don’t provide refreshments, but do offer access to hand-washing facilities, using separate towels or paper towels if possible. Removals firms are advised to implement a ‘buddy’ system to ensure the same people work together when moving furniture, and have been instructed to delay any moves where a member of the household is showing coronavirus symptoms or self-isolating.
Guidance for vulnerable people The government says people who are vulnerable or shielding should balance their need to move home with the increased risks presented by COVID-19. It says that vulnerable people consider their personal situation and, if necessary, take medical advice before committing to a move. People who are self-isolating or showing coronavirus symptoms should not leave their home at all, including to undertake viewings or move home.