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Home moves allowed as property market reopens from lockdown

  • 13/05/2020
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Home moves allowed as property market reopens from lockdown
People in England are again allowed to view properties and move home, as the property market begins to reopen after being in lockdown for almost eight weeks.  


Estate agent offices and show homes can reopen from today with social distancing measures in place, the housing secretary Robert Jenrick announced.

The government estimates more than 450,000 buyers and renters have had to put plans to move on ice since March when people were told to stay put.

Anyone will now be able to complete purchases and view properties in person, with conveyancers and removal companies among the other professions to return to work from today.


Changes to moving and viewing

The process of finding and moving into a new home is set to be significantly 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.

Estate agents are able to visit properties to take photos, but movers are encouraged to carry out the majority of their search online and only view properties they are seriously considering moving to.

If anyone is showing coronavirus symptoms from a household hosting a viewing or doing the viewing, then the appointment should be delayed.

Social distancing rules should be followed and anyone viewing should avoid touching surfaces.

There will be an appointment systems in place to visit show homes.


Flexible construction sites

Further guidance allows extended working hours on building sites and the planning system to operate remotely.

In an effort to get the construction industry restarted, builders will be able to agree working hours with councils to help stagger workers’ arrival and ease pressure on public transport.

Local councils and developers will also be able to publicise planning applications through social media instead of with posters and leaflets.

Smaller developers will also be able to defer payments to local councils to help those struggling with cash flow.

A new charter has also been launched by the government and the Home Builders Confederation with health and safety guidance to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Jenrick said: “Today 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.

“Our step by step plan is based on the latest guidance to ensure the safety and protection of everyone involved.

“This critical industry can now safely move forward, and those waiting patiently to move can now do so.”

Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the Home Builders Federation, added: “Over the past week or so many house builders have commenced a gradual return to work, in a structured way that ensures the safety of its workforce and the general public.

“The industry sustains hundreds of thousands of people in numerous roles and associated sectors, boosting local economies across the country.

“A resumption of work will play a major part in helping the economy recover as well as delivering the homes the country needs.

“It should also provide the supply chain with the confidence it needs to accelerate its own restart.”


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