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Moving home – Covid-19

Moving home – COVID-19: government issues updated advice on home moving in England

From 13 May 2020, following the government’s further amendments to the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/350), people in England can move home. This is clearly good news for people looking to start the sale and purchase process and for those whose transactions were interrupted by the lockdown.

The government has issued Government advice on home moving during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, providing updated guidance for those involved in the process.

The government estimates that over 450,000 house moves had stalled since the lockdown measures were introduced in March 2020, and the government’s hopes that by issuing its guidance it will help “kick-start” the English housing market, helping people move home safely as the COVID-19 outbreak continues.

The updated guidance repeats the oft repeated advice that the simplest steps for a safe house move include frequent hand washing and adhering to social distancing rules by staying at least two metres apart from people not in your household. The key elements of the updated guidance include:

  • Estate agents, conveyancers, surveyors, removal firms, tradespeople can all return to work, subject to adhering to government guidance.
  • Doing more online, including virtual initial viewings, and conveyancers conducting business remotely and carrying out searches online.
  • Emphasising the need for agreeing “amicable arrangements” if move dates need to change because a party or someone in the chain has COVID-19 or is shielding or self-isolating. Parties should consider contractual provisions for managing the risk of possible COVID-19-related delays.

The guidance notes the possibility of pausing all home moves for a short period to manage the spread of coronavirus. The government will advise if this ever becomes necessary.

Photo of Robert McDonald a Partner in the Conveyancing Department of Edward Harte LLP in Brighton

If you are looking for advice on buying or selling a property we would be very happy to help and please do contact Robert McDonald