Lifestyle

Can you still move house in lockdown?


Moving house can be stressful, even outside the coronavirus pandemic (Picture: Getty)

Moving home can be a famously stressful time, and this is only exacerbated by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

You’ve finally saved up enough money to buy your dream house, or the lease has come to an end and you can escape your nightmarish housemates.

You’ve paid the deposit and admin fees, and you’ve signed the never-ending amount of paperwork – and now all that is left is to move in.

But can you still move house during the pandemic, and what are the rules in England now that a second lockdown has been confirmed?

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Can you still move house in lockdown?

The restrictions vary from country to country, and so it is important that you know what your local rules are.

In the previous UK-wide lockdown, Brits were still allowed to move house, but they were discouraged from doing so.

The rules vary across the UK (Picture: Getty Images/Cultura RF)

England

It has now been confirmed England will move into a lockdown next week, but the rules on moving house are currently unclear.

The most recent advice from Gov.uk states: ‘It may become necessary to pause all home moves locally or nationally for a short period of time to manage the spread of coronavirus.

‘We will let you know if this needs to happen.’

As things stand, in all three tiers are allowed to move house, provided it can be done safely.

Relevant businesses, such as estate agents and removal companies, have been asked to implement their own Covid-19 safety rules.

These measures could include offering virtual viewings, vacating your current property during viewings, and ensuring your property is thoroughly cleaned before someone else moves in.

You will need to contact your agency to find out what measures they have in place.

Those who are visiting an agent’s office or viewing a property should wear a face covering.

All physical viewings where prospective buyers or renters will be entering the property should involve no more than two households inside the property at any one time – this includes the estate agent.

Open house viewings are not allowed.

Moving house is allowed in England (Picture: Getty)

You should avoid touching surfaces, and you must sanitise your hands regularly when doing physical viewings.

Renters have to be given a six-month eviction notice – three-month ones were banned back in March.

Wales

The good news is that you can still move house in Wales, even during the two-week firebreaker lockdown – but only if the moving process cannot wait until the lockdown is over.

Associated activities, for example, removals processes, handover of keys, surveys and valuations can also take place.

However, property viewings cannot take place during the firebreak period and high street estate agencies are required to close – you will have to view the property virtually.

Also, the Welsh Government’s website confirms that ‘no evictions will take place’ during the firebreak lockdown.

Northern Ireland

People are free to move home in Northern Ireland, even during the circuit breaker lockdown, but they should expect some changes to how it is usually done.

Initial viewings should be done virtually wherever this is possible. Physical viewings are permitted to take place, but should be limited to members of the same household – and so long as the current tenant and the viewers are not self-isolating.

You should avoid touching surfaces, and you must sanitise your hands regularly when doing physical viewings. Face coverings are advised.

Open house viewings are not allowed.

Removal firms can continue to operate across the UK – as long as Covid-19 safety measures are in place (Picture: Getty)

Estate agents, photographers, videographers and Energy Performance Assessors can visit in order to get the property on the market.

Removal firms can operate, and keys should be sanitised before handing over.

Scotland

Moving home is allowed in all five levels of Scotland, so long as it can be carried out safely.

Relevant businesses, such as estate agents and removal companies, can also continue to support people to move home.

According to the Scottish Government’s website, you can still physically attend home viewings, but only if you keep at least a two metre distance from other people, and you wash your hands regularly. Avoid toughing surfaces.

If you are self-isolating, do not attend house viewings, move house, allow people to view your house, or allow relevant workers to enter your house.

MORE: Will schools and universities close again in England?

MORE: Pubs and bars to close across England as part of second lockdown

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