The government has announced new guidelines for people buying a home or moving into a rental property who are not vaccinated.
Under the rules, those who are not fully vaccinated against Covid-19 are legally required to stay at home and self-isolate for seven days if someone in their household tests positive for the virus.
The guidance issued by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities applies even if the isolation period coincides with the day on which they were scheduled to move home.
But those who are fully vaccinated do not have to follow these rules.
Instead, they can move home according to their original schedule, even if someone in their household has tested positive.
They are, however, “strongly advised” to take a lateral flow test every day for seven days, and to self-isolate if any of their tests are positive.
Why is this happening?
The rules are the latest in a series of guidance issued by the Government during the pandemic relating to the homebuying and moving process.
They have been introduced following the emergence of the Omicron variant, which is more contagious.
But this is the first time that the government has differentiated between those who are vaccinated and those who are not.
They reflect the fact that people who are vaccinated are less likely to become severely ill if they catch Covid-19, and are also less likely to spread it to other people.
Who does it affect?
The new guidance applies to both buyers and renters who are aged over 18 years and six months.
The rules affect those who are not fully vaccinated, which is defined as having both doses of a two dose vaccine.
Those who are fully vaccinated, or who are aged under 18 years and six months do not have to follow them.
The guidance also impacts those working in the homebuying and moving industry, including letting and estate agents, valuers and removers.
The rules only apply to people moving in England.
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own anti-pandemic measures.
What’s the background?
The housing market in England remains open if you are looking for a new home to buy or rent.
As a result, you can continue to view potential properties and move home, as long as you have not been exposed to Covid-19.
But the government is urging everyone involved to continue to follow good hygiene practices, such as regular handwashing and cleaning, and to be as flexible as possible if a move needs to be delayed as a result of someone needing to self-isolate.