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5 things to know before you move during COVID-19

Tiffany Vitti

Tiffany Vitti

19 days ago - 3 minute read

COVID-19 has brought a lot of uncertainty - particularly for renters. Inspections and moves were cancelled with no one knowing when they could start looking again. This week renters got the green light when the government announced it was reopening the housing market. Before you start booking property inspections, make sure you know all the facts and what precautions you need to take.

Here we’ve simplified all the information into five points for renters looking to move.

1. What was the announcement?

On Tuesday 12 May, the UK government announced that the property market is fit to reopen. Viewings, moves and other activities “required for the rental or sale of property” (Source: Health Protection [Coronavirus, Restrictions], Gov) are now allowed in England.

2. Who does this apply to?

Currently, the regulation only applies to those in England. Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland’s COVID-19 emergency legislation means viewings and non-essential moves are still restricted. To hear when these restrictions are lifted, sign up to our newsletter here.

3. How has the property market reacted?

Estate agents, landlords, and renters who have paused their move before lockdown have welcomed the news. There has already been a significant increase in searches for property sites Rightmove & Zoopla over the last two days (Source: BuiltPlace).

@resi_analyst

There has also been concerns raised about the safety of renters keeping track of who is coming in and out of their property. Landlords and agents will have to stick to precautions and make sure everyone involved is kept as safe as possible.

@HendinArts

4. Is there guidance on viewings?

Yes, there are a few rules:

  • Visits must be by appointment only.
  • Open house viewings should not take place.
  • Speculative viewings are highly discouraged.

5. What precautions should I take when inspecting properties?

The landlord or property agent should:

  • Have online viewings first.
  • Ask you and all those currently living in the property if anyone has displayed COVID-19 symptoms or are in a high-risk category. Viewings should not be conducted if anyone has said yes.
  • Outline the safety practices they have put in place including if masks and gloves will be worn, and how the property will be sanitised before and after viewings.
  • Brief you on social distancing guidelines e.g. washing hands and keeping a 2m distance.
  • Minimise contact by asking for your information to be provided digitally where possible.

If you are viewing the property you should:

  • Try to use private transportation (walking, a car or by bike) where possible.
  • Keep to the viewing time to reduce crossing paths with any other inspections.
  • View properties outside of peak travel times (6am – 10am and 4pm – 7pm) where possible.
  • Bring hand sanitiser, wear a face mask and gloves, and bring your own bottle of water.
  • Use your phone to film the property and clearly record any questions you have asked to minimise touching more items.
  • Try not to touch doors, light switches or other common surfaces in the property. The landlord or agent should have opened all internal doors and turned on all lights.
  • Wash hands after the viewing.

If you're a renter whose place is being inspected, here’s how you can keep safe.


To stay up to date with renter news, including tips on moving, sign up to our weekly debrief here.

Tiffany Vitti

Tiffany Vitti

19 days ago - 3 minute read

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