The property market in England has reopened and people can move home again. We look at key government information homemovers need to know right now.

The property market in England has reopened and people can move home once again.

But any moves must adhere to government guidance aimed at keeping everyone safe during the pandemic.

We take a look at questions and answers homemovers need to know to comply with new government rules.

Q. Does the reopening of the housing market mean it is business as usual?

A. No, the lifting of the restrictions on not moving does not represent a return to normality.

Instead, the process of finding, buying and moving home must be adapted to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

Changes include carrying out as much of the process online as possible. 

Homemovers will be expected to mostly continue with virtual viewings rather than physical ones. Sellers may need to vacate their homes while potential buyers are shown around. And properties will need to be  thoroughly cleaned before the new owners or tenants move in.

The government has also warned that it may be necessary to pause all home moves again in the future to manage the spread of the virus.

Q. How do I move safely during the pandemic?

A. While moves are now allowed to go ahead, social distancing continues. Everyone must continue to follow the guidance issued by Public Health England.

In practice, this means you must stay at least two metres away from anyone who’s not a member of your current. household. And you should continue to wash your hands frequently.

You must also isolate yourself immediately if you develop any coronavirus symptoms.

Those considered to be clinically vulnerable should continue to self-isolate, and not move home unless it’s absolutely necessary.

If you’re in a property chain with someone who’s deemed to be vulnerable, you may have to put your moving plans on hold.

Q. How does social distancing work with people from removals firms?  

A. You must stay at least two metres away from people helping you move. 

You should also clean your furniture and other items before removals professionals arrive and after they’ve left. This will minimise the risk of transmitting the virus.

Try to do as much of the packing yourself as you can.

Before removal crews come to your home, you should open all internal doors.

All parties should wash their hands frequently and dry them on separate towels, or disposable paper towels. 

You should not provide any refreshments for removal crews.

Q. What are the social distancing rules?

A. Social distancing rules must be followed during in-person viewings and meetings with agents in person. These include:

  • Washing your hands when you enter a home
  • Bringing and using hand sanitiser
  • Not touching any surfaces 
  • Keeping windows open in homes to air out the rooms
  • Ensuring everyone maintains a two-metre distance from one another

Q. Is there a limit on how far I can move geographically? 

A. There’s no limit on the distance you can move within England. As long as you follow public health guidance while you do so.

But the reopening of the housing market only applies in England. So a move to or within Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland is currently not possible. 

Q. Can I still move home if my housemate has coronavirus symptoms?  

A. If anyone within your household develops coronavirus symptoms, it’s important to put your move on hold and isolate yourself immediately.

If you’re contractually committed to moving home, you should still delay your move until all members of your household have come to the end of their self-isolation period.

This will minimise the risk of transmitting the virus.

Make sure you inform your landlord or letting agent if this is the case.

Coronavirus: Get the latest property news and information

Q. I’ve tested positive for coronavirus but I feel fine. Can I still move if I follow all the guidelines?

A. No. 

Even if you’re not experiencing any symptoms of coronavirus, known as being asymptomatic, you can still infect others.

If you’ve tested positive, it’s important that you and other members of your household stay at home and self-isolate. 

Any move must be put on hold until the isolation period is over.

If you’re already contractually committed to moving, the move must still be put on hold and you should work with other people in your chain to agree a new date.

If you absolutely have to move - for example, there’s an urgent health and safety risk at your current property - you should contact Public Health England or your local public health team for advice.

Q. Can I view properties in person again now? 

A. Yes, physical property viewings are allowed to take place again. 

But it’s important that all parties involved follow public health guidance and take steps to minimise the risk of infection. 

Viewing numbers should also be kept to a minimum. They should only involve members of the same household. It’s best not to bring small children if possible.

Even so, initial viewings should still be done virtually if possible. 

Estate agents are open again and they can accompany potential buyers on viewings. But they must follow the public health guidelines too. 

Show homes are also open and will operate an appointment system for viewing to avoid overcrowding.

Open house viewings are currently not allowed.

Q. I’m a renter, should I let my landlord organise viewings?  

A. The government expects landlords and tenants to work together to help people to move home in a safe way.

Your landlord must give you fair warning about any viewings. 

Those involved in the viewing must follow the public health guidelines.

If you or anyone in your household develops coronavirus symptoms, viewings must be cancelled until everyone has come to the end of their self-isolation period.

Q. Can I still have a survey done on a property I want to buy?

A. Yes, you can still have a survey carried out. 

But surveyors will be expected to follow the same rules as those viewing properties.

This means they should maintain a distance of two metres from others, frequently wash their hands and not attend the property if they have symptoms of coronavirus.

You can visit a property you’re buying if you wish to take measurements.

But such a visit must be agreed with the seller and be conducted according to the public health guidelines.


For more information, read the official government guidance on moving home during the coronavirus outbreak.

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The information and data in this article was correct at the time of publishing and every attempt is made to ensure its accuracy. However, it may now be out of date or superseded. Zoopla Ltd and its group companies make no representation or warranty of any kind regarding the content of this article and accept no responsibility or liability for any decisions made by the reader based on the information and/or data shown here.
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