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Maria Lati

Advice note written by Maria Lati, Partner – Head of Residential Property

At Grant Saw, we welcome the news that from today (13 May 2020), anyone in England can move house provided that they follow the rules set out by the Housing Secretary. Further information is found here.

During the period of lockdown, it has been essential for those involved in the buying and selling of residential property to keep to Government guidelines to control the spread of COVID-19 and the message was to “Stay at Home”. House moves were strongly discouraged. The only house moves that have been readily able to be completed were those that involved an empty property. The Government has now revised the guidance and is encouraging the property market to re-start. Further guidance is expected and each business involved in the process will need to set its own rules for social distancing to ensure the process is conducted as safely as possible.

The new guidance comes into force today as a result of the Amendment of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 which provides as follows:

6 – (1) During the emergency period, no person may leave the place where they are living without reasonable excuse.

(2) For the purposes of paragraph (1), a reasonable excuse includes the need—

……

(i) to undertake any of the following activities in connection with the purchase, sale, letting or rental of a residential property—

(ii) visiting estate or letting agents, developer sales offices or show homes;

(iii) viewing residential properties to look for a property to buy or rent;

(iv) preparing a residential property to move in;

(v) moving home;

(vi) visiting a residential property to undertake any activities required for the rental or sale of that property;”…

This is welcomed news for the industry but caution must be exercised to ensure that social distancing is observed during viewings, the signing of documents and moving to the new property.

Problems may persist. People self-isolating must still do so and may not be in a position to move. People living in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland buying property in England are not permitted to leave their home to move house.  If a household contracts to move but then has to self-quarantine due to a member displaying symptoms of COVID-19, this may have contractual repercussions if the process is delayed and to avoid this, we may see shorter gaps between exchange and completion.

At Grant Saw, we shall do everything possible to facilitate house moves within the new rules and our recommendations will be discussed with each client to find the best solutions that suit their needs utilising video calls, e-mail reporting, signature of documents with minimal contact, and facilities for electronic ID checks and funds transfer.

We look forward to working with existing and new clients and to being proactive in getting clients moved to their new home.

For more information, email [email protected] or contact Maria on 020 8305 4229.