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Social Distancing guidance as Housing market restarts

Housing market restarts with guidance on social distancingThe housing market has restarted allowing people to buy and sell homes if they follow social distancing rules.

When lockdown restrictions were implemented in March, more than 450,000 people had to put their plans to move home on hold.

However, on 13 May, the government relaxed the restrictions as part of its strategy to get the economy moving again. All buyers and renters in England can now complete purchases and view properties if they follow the government’s new guidance, while estate agents, conveyancers and removals firms can return to work while following social distancing guidelines.

The main requirements include:

• Visits being by appointment only, open house viewings not taking place, and speculative viewings where buyers or tenants are not serious yet, are highly discouraged.
• All parties following strict social distancing guidelines.
• All internal doors should be opened where possible.
• The current occupier vacating the property for the duration of the visit, going out for their daily exercise, going out to the shops or standing in the garden, if that is possible.
• All involved in the process washing their hands upon entering the property. And, once the viewing has taken place, all surfaces in the property including the door handles, should be thoroughly cleaned.

There are some exceptions. Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “For those who are self-isolating or have coronavirus, they should not be moving or going back to work or allowing trades people or professionals into their home. Where this is the case, all parties involved in house buying or selling should prioritise agreeing amicable sensible arrangements to change move dates for the individuals concerned.

“We would also ask those who are clinically vulnerable and those who are shielding to consider very carefully their personal situation and to seek personal and specific medical advice before deciding whether to commit to or proceed with moving home.

“If you are in this situation, and you decide that you must go ahead, all professionals involved must be made aware so that they can put in place any additional precautionary measures to provide further protection for your health and further legal protection to make sure the transaction goes as smoothly as can be expected.”

Please contact us if you would like advice about the legal aspects of buying or selling a home.

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