publication date: Apr 2, 2020
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books
Consumer quick guide to property during Coronavirus
Government guidance states:
Home buyers and renters should, where possible, delay moving to a new house while measures are in place to fight Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Our advice is that if you have already exchanged contracts and the property is currently occupied then all parties should work together to agree a delay or another way to resolve this matter.
However, they advise people can ‘move house where reasonably necessary’ and if moving into an ‘empty home’ could take place.
To help you understand what is and isn’t possible during this time, please see our Q&As below.
If you have a question for your individual circumstance, please contact us or email us with your question.
The Q&As are all based around the additional clear government guidance to:-
- Only go outside for food, exercise, health reasons or essential work
- Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
As a result, during the buying, selling, renting and investing process please understand:-
- It’s essential to only “move house where reasonably necessary” - see our Q&As
- Strangers walking around people’s homes to view properties, touching door handles etc is not within the government guidelines during the stay-at-home measures and I don’t advise buying without viewing the property and the surrounding area first. However, if you are renting, particularly from afar, it is possible, but make it clear to your agent - in writing - what would stop you and make you want to rent a property.
- Lenders are currently adjusting their criteria and if you have been furloughed, lost your job, become sick etc, this may affect your ability to be able to afford the mortgage, so do contact your lender/broker if your circumstances have changed. Please be aware they are having difficulty with the amount of work required to implement requests for help and especially ‘mortgage holiday’s, so do bear with them while they sort out the most efficient way to move forward.
- It is difficult for surveyors to value properties and to carry out surveys safely in people’s homes during this pandemic. Surveys for me are a critical service when buying a home; you get an independent valuation and an idea of how much you will have to spend on the property to keep it safe for you and your family in the future. If a survey has been done by a previous buyer, there maybe a way of asking for a copy - and offering to contribute financially.
- Removal companies will find it impossible to move furniture within the guidelines eg you can’t take a chest of drawers down the stairs and remain two metres away. All the items will have been touched by various people and in some cases a move is too big for just two removal people. However the government guidance does say they should assist with essential moves eg key workers.
These Q&As aren’t exhaustive, so if you do have a specific question, please feel free to contact us. It’s essential during this time to get the right information from robust sources, be aware there is a lot of incorrect information online!
Please note this is the official government guidance for people and property during the stay at home measures:
Buying and selling, some information on letting
Government guidance on home moving during the Coronavirus outbreak
Landlords and tenants
Government guidance on support for landlords and renters during the Coronavirus outbreak
Government guidance on renting for landlords, tenants and local authorities
Wales has also provided information for tenants, landlords and agents and here is some additional information from Rent Smart Wales
Here is some information for landlords and tenants in Scotland. and for tenants in Northern Ireland, some housing advice from Housing rights and Government guidance on right to rent checks.
Carrying out work on a property eg safety checks or renovations
Government guidance on work carried out in people's homes
Cleaning a property
Government guidance on cleaning a property in non-healthcare settings
For further information, please visit the following Q&As:
Q&As for sellers during Coronavirus
Q&As for buyers during Coronavirus
Q&As for landlords during Coronavirus
Q&As for tenants during Coronavirus
Q&As for consumers investing and renovating during Coronavirus