Yes, You Can Move to a New House & Here Are the Facts You Need
If you have been putting off a potential move, you are far from alone. According to recent figures, it is estimated that around 450,000 buyers and renters in England alone have put their plans on hold due to lockdown restrictions.
With the gradual easing across England, many are expecting a wave of demand from tens of thousands of frustrated movers, however, social distancing and general safety measures remain unchanged, meaning the implementation of new systems and procedures, to make it all possible.
Below, you will find key questions being asked about moving to a new house in England, none of which yet apply to the property markets of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, all of which remain closed:
How Can I View a Property and Social Distance?
All initial property viewings will take place online, along with remote discussions with the estate agent and representatives. In-person viewings will be possible after the ‘virtual viewings’, during which social distancing rules must me followed. For example, the current residents of the property, if possible, should leave for the duration of the viewing, all internal doors should be kept open and visitors are advised to bring their own hand wash.
The estate or letting agent must also stay 2m (6ft) away from clients during the viewing.
Can I Be Evicted by My Landlord?
Existing protections for renters remain unchanged for the time being, meaning that it is impossible for landlords to begin the eviction process without first providing three months’ notice. This is set to continue until September 30, though may change in the meantime.
In addition, landlords are now allowed to show prospective tenants around their properties, provided social distancing rules are followed.
What About Moving in With Somebody New?
This is one of the few exceptions to the government’s restrictions on how many people can currently meet from two or more households. If your intention is to move in with your partner or perhaps rent a property with new housemates, you are now entitled to do so with no specific restrictions.
The government simply states that if anyone in either household is displaying any signs or symptoms of Covid-19, they and all members of their household should self-isolate for the required period, prior to the move going ahead.
Can I Hire a Removals Company?
Yes, removal companies have once again been permitted to operate and can therefore help transport belongings for home buyers and renters. All social distancing rules and guidelines continue to apply, which means they should not come into close contact with you or anyone else during the process.
Additional safety guidelines include ensuring your belongings are cleaned before allowing the movers to handle them, providing washing facilities for the removals team, and not offering refreshments.
How Will All of This Affect House Prices?
It remains to be seen, but Covid-19’s impact on average property prices has so far been significantly lower than expected. In fact, it is estimated that house prices on average dipped by a fractional 0.6% between March and April, coming out 2.7% better than the same period last year.
Pent-up interest among renters and buyers could trigger an enormous spike in real estate activity over the months following the easing of lockdown restrictions, so while it’s perfectly possible that property prices may see a short-term fall, prominent economists and experts expect them to recover and return to strength just as quickly.