A second nationwide lockdown for England has thrown the plans of millions into disarray, with life set to come to a standstill for the majority of the country for at least a month.
Speaking on October 31, Boris Johnson outlined that bars and restaurants, leisure and entertainment centres, and non-essential businesses would be shut down, while the mixing of households would also be restricted for the duration of a lockdown.
There were fears that renters and homeowners would be unable to move property during the nationwide pause, but Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Robert Jenrick has said that the housing and rental market will be able to operate as normal.
Can I move house during lockdown?
Yes. Robert Jenrick confirmed that estate agents and rental firms would be able to operate as normal during the lockdown.
Following the Prime Minister’s press briefing on Saturday, Jenrick tweeted: "Housing market update ahead of Thursday's measures: Renters & homeowners will be able to move; 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 guidance."
What is the guidance for homebuyers during the pandemic?
Homebuyers, sellers and renters are advised by the government to take the following steps during the coronavirus pandemic:
- Initial viewings should be done virtually wherever possible. Property agents should be able to help you with this.
- Members of the public who are visiting an agent’s office or viewing a property should wear a suitable face covering as described in government guidance unless they are exempt from this requirement. This should be confirmed with the agent before arrival. Anyone with concerns should contact the agent in advance of their visit to discuss appropriate measures. The agent may require you to arrange an appointment before visiting the premises.
- All physical viewings where prospective buyers or renters will be entering the property should involve no more than 2 households inside the property at any one time. This includes any agent accompanying either party. Anyone in a support bubble with either household, however, will count as part of that household. Please read the latest guidance on indoor gatherings and support bubbles.
- Where prospective buyers who are currently from separate households wish to view the property on the same occasion, we advise that one household leaves the property to allow the other to enter. This allows for both households to view the property and ensures social distancing.
- Viewings should be arranged by appointment only and ‘open house’ viewings should not take place. When viewing properties in person, you should avoid touching surfaces wherever possible, wash your hands regularly and/or use hand sanitiser. If you need to be accompanied by small children, you should try to keep them from touching surfaces and ensure they wash their hands regularly.
- If people are being shown around your home, you should open all internal doors and ensure surfaces, such as door handles, are cleaned after each viewing with standard household cleaning products.
- We recommend that you vacate your property while viewings are taking place in order to minimise unnecessary contact.
- Anyone involved in any aspect of the home-moving process should practice social distancing in line with public health advice.
- When moving between properties, you and those in your household should try to do as much of the packing yourself as you can. Where this is not possible, you should speak to removal firms in advance. There is further advice about this below.If you are particularly worried about the risk of infection, then speak to your landlord, estate agent or removers as they may be able to put extra precautionary measures in place.