Covid-19 government advice to the public

More detail on progressing the individual elements of the home buying and selling or rental process and how this applies to different groups is set out in the next section.

 

Vulnerable people or those shielding

We recognise people who are shielding or otherwise vulnerable may also have pressing needs to move home; however, this should be balanced with the increased risks presented by coronavirus.

In line with government’s advice, those who are shielding or otherwise clinically vulnerable should ensure they are aware of the medical advice, including on staying at home and avoiding unnecessary contacts over this period, if at all possible. All parties involved in home buying and selling should prioritise agreeing amicable arrangements to change move dates for individuals in this group, or where someone in a chain is in this group.

Clinically vulnerable and shielded individuals (ie those who have received a letter advising they are in the clinically extremely vulnerable group) will need to carefully consider their personal situation and the circumstances of their own move and may wish to seek medical advice before deciding whether to commit to or go ahead with a move. Some moves are likely to be lower risk - for instance if the home is empty, all travel can take place in their own transport and they can avoid contact with others.

We would encourage everyone in these categories who does intend to move, to make clear their status to all of the professionals involved in the process. They may be able to implement additional precautionary measures to further protect you.

 

People self-isolating or having tested positive for coronavirus

Moving home is not appropriate whilst you pose a direct risk of transmitting coronavirus. 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.

If you are contractually committed to move home, you should delay your move until all members of your household have come to the end of their self-isolation period. All parties involved in home buying and selling should prioritise agreeing amicable arrangements to change move dates for individuals, or where someone in a chain or their family member is self-isolating or has tested positive for coronavirus.

Should a move be essential for people in this category, for instance due to an urgent health and safety risk, please contact Public Health England/local public health teams for advice.

 

What does this mean for my property move or purchase which is scheduled whilst measures to fight coronavirus apply?

People are free to move home, however the process of finding and moving into a new home is likely to be different, as those involved in the process will need to adapt practices and procedures to ensure that the risk of spread of coronavirus is reduced as far as possible. It is vital that everyone stays alert and safe.

 

Everyone involved in the moving process must follow social distancing to minimise the spread of the virus.

  1. Preparing to buy, sell or move home

 

You can put your home on the market and start to look for properties you want to move into. If any member of the household being viewed is showing symptoms or is self-isolating then estate agents should not physically visit the property.

  1. Viewings

 

People should use virtual viewings before visiting properties in person where possible, in order to minimise public health risks. If any member of either the household being viewed, or the household undertaking a viewing is showing symptoms of coronavirus or is self-isolating, then a physical viewing should be delayed. All viewings should take place by appointment and only involve members of a single household.

  1. Making offers or reservations

 

You are free to make or accept an offer or reserve a property as normal.

  1. Property searches and surveys

 

Your legal representative should be able to carry out searches on your property online in order to progress your transaction and you can contact them to discuss likely timescales.

 

Your surveyor can undertake surveys of the property you wish to purchase.

  1. Agreeing to move

 

Once you have agreed to move home by exchanging contracts or signing a tenancy agreement, you have entered into a legal agreement to move. We encourage all parties to be as flexible as possible over this period and be prepared to delay moves if needed, for example if someone becomes ill with coronavirus during the moving process or has to self-isolate. You should not expect to move into any home where people are ill or self-isolating.

  1. Moving your belongings

 

Removal firms are able to operate, although they may need to adjust usual procedures in order to ensure moves happen as safely as possible.