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Welcome news – the housing market re-opens!

The recent covid-19 update that property viewings and house moves could re-start in England was welcomed by many, with an estimated 450,000 people in England waiting to move since lockdown began in March.

The amended Regulations which came into effect 13th May 2020 means estate agents, letting offices, developer offices, show homes and removal companies are able to operate again. However this is on the basis that social distancing continues to be adhered to by all parties.

The process of finding and moving into a new home will be different, and those involved will need to adapt to ensure that the risk of spread of coronavirus is reduced as far as possible.

A brief overview of the updated Regulations include:

  • Initial viewings should be done virtually wherever this is possible and property agents should help you to do this.
  • All physical viewings should be limited to members of the same household and open house viewings should not take place.
  • When physically viewing properties, where possible, you should avoid touching surfaces, wash your hands regularly, and bring your own hand sanitiser. The number of people on a viewing should be minimised to those from your household that absolutely have to be there. If you need to be accompanied by small children, you should try to keep them from touching surfaces and ensure they wash their hands regularly.
  • If people are being shown around your current home, you should open all internal doors and ensure surfaces, such as door handles, are cleaned after each viewing with standard household cleaning products.
  • As most people choose to, we recommend that you vacate your property whilst viewings are taking place in order to minimise your contact with those not in your household.
  • Anyone involved in any aspect of the home moving process should practice social distancing in line with public health advice.
  • When moving between properties, you and those in your household should try to do as much of the packing yourself as you can. Where this is not possible, you should speak to removal firms in advance. There is further advice about this below.
  • If you are particularly worried about the risk of infection, then speak to the professionals involved, your landlord, estate agent or removers as they may be able to put in place extra measures.

If someone is showing symptoms of coronavirus there may have to be a delay to the move. Legal advisors should be ensuring all contracts and agreements are flexible so as to accommodate this risk.

Here at TLS Solicitors we are still operating although we are managing and limiting footfall in both our Cornwall and London office as well as implementing safe measures and guidelines for our staff working in the offices. Please feel free to get in touch if you require our services.

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