Good news for anyone seeking to buy a property or move house. Property viewings and house moves can resume again from today.
Travel restrictions in England have been relaxed from 13 May which means that estate agents, surveyors and valuers can go about their work. Property viewings are now considered a reasonable excuse for leaving your house. The Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick MP, announced on the 12 May that anyone in England can move home if they follow new guidance. In a press release, he said that people can move home safely. Viewings can be carried out and removal firms and conveyancers can resume business.
New housing market guidelines
In the release, Jenrick said: ‘I am announcing new guidelines to allow the housing market to resume. Our clear plan will enable people to move home safely, covering each aspect of the sales and letting process from viewings to removals.’
He added: ‘This critical industry can now safely move forward, and those waiting patiently to move can now do so.’
Anyone who had already bought a home before lockdown can go about the business of preparing to move in. You can also visit a residential property to undertake any activities relevant to the purchase or sale of a property. Anyone who wants to view a property either as a prospective buyer or renter will be able to do so.
‘We welcome this news as we know there have been many people who have been unable to complete on house moves since lockdown was imposed and had their plans ground to a halt,’ says Monica Bradley, Managing Director of MBA. ‘We know that virtual viewings had been carried out in some cases and we have still been busy receiving mortgage applications, but we expect this news to be a real boost to the house market. If people can view properties in person, they will have the confidence to make buying decisions. We are pleased that anyone who wants to buy or sell a property will have the freedom to move ahead, provided strict social distancing guidelines are followed when viewings take place.’
Viewings only in England
The good news is currently confined to England. Home viewings in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are still not permitted.
Safety will of course be paramount. Vendors will have to wait outside while the viewings take place, or in a different part of the house if the property is big enough. Buyers won’t be allowed to touch surfaces including doorknobs, and agents will need to carry wipes and disinfectant. Agents will also need to wear masks and gloves and of course must not have any symptoms of the COVID-19 virus. ‘I have masks, wipes, gloves and sanitiser sprays and will make sure that all vendors vacate when I show their property,’ says Lisa Fowler, Director of London-based estate agents, Henley Homes. ‘I will also make sure that only two people from the same household view.’
Children cannot take part in the viewings. Everyone should maintain a safe distance of at least two metres.
If you were thinking of buying or selling a property before lockdown, it’s reassuring to know that you can resume your plans again. We are here to help with any questions about obtaining a mortgage.