With the announcement today that we are now allowed to move home it remains to be seen whether this is the beginning of the long awaited revival to the housing market. In the few months before the arrival of Covid-19, activity in the market was beginning to recover post Brexit, but it was short lived as the lockdown meant everything was put on hold. With estate agents now able to re-open and removal companies allowed to operate, agents are already, just hours after the announcement, being inundated with requests from potential buyers wanting to view in person the properties that they have only been able to view online, during the lockdown. Surveyors are also now permitted to undertake surveys, tradespeople can carry out works to properties and by analogy you would expect valuers to be able to undertake property valuations for lenders.
Guidance is given by the Government in the link below to estate agents, home owners, surveyors and tradespersons amongst others, to ensure, as far as possible, that those working in the property industry can carry out their jobs safely. For example, social distancing measures should be put in place during any inspections or viewings of property. Property viewings should only be by members of the same household, property owners should vacate the property whilst the viewings take place and open house viewings are not permitted.
Sale contracts are still going to need to provide for the possibility of a delay to completion of the sale due to any scenario where Covid-19 could cause sellers or buyers to be unable to complete on a date they have contractually agreed.
The process of finding and moving into a new home will need to be different given those involved in the process will have to adapt practices and procedures to ensure that the risk of spread of coronavirus is reduced as far as possible. This will include doing more of the process online, such as virtual initial viewings; vacating your current property whilst other people are shown around; and ensuring your property is thoroughly cleaned before someone else moves in