Moving home has been possible throughout the latest lockdown. The housing sector was seen as so key to the UK economy the government chose to allow all the parts of it. From estate agents to removal companies, to operate when other parts of the economy were shut down.
But, that does not mean that things haven’t changed when moving during the lockdown. Although the economy is starting to reopen, many of the changes remain in force for the latest lockdown rules for moving house.
Buying and selling should still be socially distant
Guidance seeks to reduce contact during the buying and selling phases of moving. These are, normally, common sense to anyone who has experienced restrictions in their daily life. Seeing as much as possible done online and, when needed, for the risk from physical contacts to be mitigated.
This means that initial viewings should be virtual. And any in-person visits should be done as safely as possible. This includes limiting the number of people in the house at the same time, so open house viewings are no longer possible. And measures should be taken to ensure that the risk of spreading is reduced. Social distancing and wearing masks are a given when indoors, but the guidance includes other measures like keeping the house well-aired during the viewing, leaving all doors open and for the viewers to avoid touching something in the house.
Moving house has also changed. Again, the changes are likely to be seen as common sense and similar to measures that are seen elsewhere. Many of these will be about social distancing, so the removal men should try, as far as possible, to maintain the two-metre distance from other people and wearing masks when indoors.
Again, like with viewings, the houses should be well-aired while people are inside. The number of different households in a building should be limited as far as possible. There should also be attempts to avoid spreading via surfaces. This will include the owner doing as much packing as possible. One big restriction is that it’s not possible to provide titbits for the removal company, so no offering tea and biscuits. Still, the homeowner should ensure there are hand-washing facilities available. These should, ideally, have throwaway or separate towels for the removal workers.
Moving house is one of the exemptions for overnight stays away from home. These are permissible both for viewings and moving if it’s necessary because of the distance involved or the timings of the move. However, these stays should still be managed within bubbles.
It is also sensible to ensure there are contingencies in case anyone in the process get Covid-19. The latest lockdown rules for moving house provide no exemption for self-isolation or quarantine. If someone must self-isolate it can delay the whole process, even if they are not directly involved. For example they are in a chain later in the process. Although the infection rates are falling, and will hopefully remain low, so you can hope for the best, it’s still sensible to plan for the worst.
Moving house has remained possible throughout the pandemic, and with common sense, it is not that different to how it was before and will, hopefully, be getting a lot easier as the pandemic passes.
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