From May 13th 2020, the property market has been released from lockdown in order to allow for transactions to take place once more and this critical industry to restart. Of course, operations will be undertaken with strict social distancing guidelines in place in order to ensure the safety of all parties.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick explained “Our clear plan will enable people to move home safely, covering each aspect of the sales and letting process, from viewings to removals. This critical industry can now safely move forward, and those waiting patiently to move can now do so.”
As well as estate agencies being able to operate once more under new guidelines, the housebuilding sector was also gifted new measures to help it operate through the current period.
The Government guidelines can be seen in the bullet points below;
• Initial viewings should be done virtually wherever this is possible and property agents should help you to do this.
• All physical viewings should be limited to members of the same household and open house viewings should not take place.
• When physically viewing properties, where possible, you should avoid touching surfaces, wash your hands regularly, and bring your own hand sanitiser. The number of people on a viewing should be minimised to those from your household that absolutely have to be there. If you need to be accompanied by small children, you should try to keep them from touching surfaces and ensure they wash their hands regularly.
• If people are being shown around your current home, you should open all internal doors and ensure surfaces, such as door handles, are cleaned after each viewing with standard household cleaning products.
• As most people choose to, we recommend that you vacate your property whilst viewings are taking place in order to minimise your contact with those not in your household.
• Anyone involved in any aspect of the home moving process should practice social distancing in line with public health advice.
• When moving between properties, you and those in your household should try to do as much of the packing yourself as you can. Where this is not possible, you should speak to removal firms in advance. There is further advice about this below.
• If you are particularly worried about the risk of infection, then speak to the professionals involved, your landlord, estate agent or removers as they may be able to put in place extra measures.
David Cox, Chief Executive of ARLA Propertymark and Mark Hayward, Chief Executive of NAEA Propertymark commented:
“It’s great news for consumers and the industry that the housing market is being opened up and people can let, rent, buy and sell properties again. The new regulations provide clarity to agents and will allow them to deal with pent up demand from consumers. It’s also a step to reinvigorating the housing market and will be a boost to the economy.
"Safety, of course, will be paramount, and we would encourage everyone to ensure that they follow Government guidelines closely to protect others and themselves.”