Today brings some positive news for the housing market as new Government guidance has given the green light for property viewings in person and visits to Estate Agents for both sales and rentals so long as social distancing is still observed.
Under the new regulations, key activities related to moving home will be permitted allowing Estate Agents to get back to work. The new regulations also state that a “reasonable excuse for being away from home” will be expanded to include visiting Estate and Lettings Agents, viewing residential properties, preparing a residential property to move in or sell and moving home. This also includes Property Valuers attending properties.
Buyers, renters, sellers and Estate Agents are likely to have to take extra precautions including keeping 2 metres apart during viewings.
The rules that come into force today are a substantial change as the UK housing market has been all but frozen during lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Robert Jenrick, the Communities Secretary said “Removal Companies, Conveyancers and Estate Agents could restart their businesses with immediate effect”. He said that the government estimated that more than 450,000 buyers and renters have been unable to move since March. Robert Jenrick also said that “Our clear plan will enable people to move home safely, covering each aspect of the sales and lettings process from viewings to removals”
The Government also said show homes can also open while removal companies, along with other essential market components, may also fully resume work.
An industry agreement also allows a resumption of, and extended working hours on, construction sites; with a ‘Safe Working Charter’ launched by the Government and the Home Builders Federation to enable more delayed projects to be completed.
Stewart Baseley, Executive Chairman of the Home Builders Federation, hoped the new Charter for construction sites would kick-start a vital sector for the economy. He said: “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.”
Here at Burtons we have continued to progress our existing clients property transactions and the new regulations will enable us to progress some of our newly instructed property transactions and encourage those clients that put their move “on hold” to start proceedings again and get moving. We will be contacting all our clients and potential clients over the coming days to get up to date instructions given the changes brought in today.
We will continue to meet our client’s expectations in respect of moving home under the new regulations and will keep you updated as to any further changes and how this will affect our clients.
One thing everyone moving home should consider is that many large firms of solicitors and estate agents alike have furloughed a large number of their staff so substantial changes and adjustments will need to be made which could initially slow down the restart of the housing market and certain aspects of the property transactions.
At Burtons we have our staff ready to work, we are set up to work from home, including telephone contact and with full access to our systems. We are in a position to treat the situation as normal and are ready to assist and progress your matter.