Property Market Gets The Green Light!

Rachael Atkinson

Table of Contents

Buyers, Sellers, Estate Agents, Solicitors, Mortgage Companies, Surveyors and many more have been waiting since March for the Government to confirm that home moving can begin again. To everyone’s relief this is possible as of today (13 May 2020).

Since the Government placed England in Lock Down in March due to COVID-19 only a small number of sales and purchases have been possible under strict and limited circumstances. As from today the Government has confirmed that “anyone in England can move home”. Although this will not give rise to a complete return to normality, if the new guidance published by Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick is followed, people can move home.

So what does this mean to you?

  • Whether you are a buyer, a seller or a renter you are now able to move home!
  • Estate Agents’ offices can reopen. Estate Agents can visit your property to take photos for marketing material and can carry out viewings. Open house viewings are not possible.
  • Removal firms are now allowed to operate. You should pack as much as you can yourself and clean your belongings with standard household cleaner before they are handled by others.
  • Initial viewings of properties are to be virtual viewings/online.
  • Physical viewings should be limited to members of the same household and only for properties you believe you most likely want to purchase. You should avoid touching surfaces during the viewing, wash your hands as soon as you enter and take your own hand sanitisers
  • During viewings all internal doors should be open to limit touching these areas. Surfaces such as door handles should be cleaned with standard household cleaner after each viewing.
  • In order to comply with the Governments moto “Stay alert, contain the virus and save lives” you should wash your hands frequently and where possible stay at least 2 metres from anyone that is not a member of your household.
  • Inspections and surveys are possible although they must follow the guidance.
  • During any physical viewings, owners and occupiers must vacate the property before anyone enters to view it.
  • Properties must be thoroughly cleaned before anyone else moves in.
  • People who have coronavirus or are self-isolating with their family member should not leave their home to either move home, or undertake property viewings.

The guidance from Public Heath England must still be followed and therefore anyone who is self-isolating should continue to do so and should not move. Similarly if someone in a chain becomes ill parties will need to be flexible and delays may be necessary. This of course may affect some chains.

The Government has also made it clear that it may be necessary to pause home moves in the future to manage the spread of COVID-19. As such this is an evolving position, which needs to be monitored.

Ultimately, the Government’s announcement is positive news for our clients and our contacts. Our conveyancing department has already seen an increase in activity today both from new enquiries asking whether they can now physically view properties that they have been watching during Lock Down and from existing clients whose transactions have been on hold and can now resume.

Osbornes’ Residential Property Department has continued to work through this crisis and it has been business as usual for us. We, therefore, remain ready and able to assist.

For further information please see the following links:

  1. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/housing-secretary-sets-out-plan-to-re-start-housing-market
  2. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/government-advice-on-home-moving-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak

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