Covid-19




Coronavirus COVID-19: Government advice for anyone in the property market

Guidance for people buying or selling residential property during the Covid-19 pandemic

Can I now move home?

Yes. The government has amended lockdown legislation so that moving home is allowed from 13 May 2020. Provided social distancing rules are followed, estate agents are permitted to open, viewings can be carried out and removal firms can restart operations.

Who can leave their house to view a property?

Anyone that does not pose a direct risk of transmitting Covid-19 and who is not self-isolating. The government suggests that those who are shielding or vulnerable should seek medical advice and carefully consider their circumstances before going ahead with a move.

If I want a viewing to be carried out at my property, what safety precautions does the government advise that I take?

You should open all internal doors and ensure surfaces, such as door handles, are cleaned after each viewing and vacate your property while viewings are taking place.  Estate agents should ensure the viewing is kept brief and there is minimal contact with any surfaces.  Websters staff will be wearing gloves and face coverings.

What if I want to buy or rent a property?

Initial viewings should be done virtually wherever possible. As a potential buyer or tenant, you should avoid touching surfaces, wash your hands regularly, and bring your own hand sanitiser. The government advises the number of people on a viewing should be minimised to “those from your household that absolutely have to be there”.

What if I have coronavirus or am self-isolating and I am contractually committed to move home?

You should delay your move. All parties involved should prioritise agreeing amicable arrangements to change move dates in these scenarios.

How will estate agents change the way they do business?

Agents should use an appointment system for visits to their offices and when conducting viewings. They also should not carry out any open house viewings. Agents should encourage virtual viewings for clients in the first instance and then only carry out physical viewings if there is a strong interest in the property.  Where physical viewings are required the agents should follow government guidance on working in homes, including social distancing and minimising contact.

The government has also advised agents to promote flexibility on move dates, ensure that any keys are appropriately cleaned before handover and to not drive clients to appointments.

Can I make or received an offer or a reservation? 

Yes, you are free to make or accept an offer or reserve a property as normal.

Who is allowed to visit my property if it is on the market?  

Prospective buyers or renters (including members of the same household who must be there), estate agents, tradespeople, conveyancers, and removal workers.

What is the guidance on removals? 

Removal firms are able to operate but when moving between properties, the government suggests household members should try to do as much of the packing themselves.

How can agents go back to work in offices? 

Estate agents can open for business but the government says they should consider how and when to reopen their premises given the government guidance on safer working.