Moving home during coronavirus guidance

This guidance provides advice to those working within the home buying and selling process and those moving home.

Although many coronavirus restrictions have eased guidance remains in place to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Please read here for the most up to date public health advice and guidance.

General advice to industry and those moving home

Property agents, conveyancers and other professionals may choose to retain some modifications to how they work to reduce the risk from COVID-19. These changes could impact your move and may include initial virtual viewings before in-person viewings, asking you to vacate your current property during viewings, and ensuring your property is thoroughly cleaned before someone else views it or moves in. We would ask that you cooperate with these measures where they are in place.

How businesses involved in the home moving process can mitigate risk

All businesses should follow the government’s latest guidance for employers and businesses. As well as government guidance, we encourage all professionals and tradespeople to speak to their professional or representative bodies and familiarise themselves with any up to date guidance that these bodies have prepared for their specific sectors.

Current guidance remains that you should continue to work from home where you can.

Where employees are at their workplace, employers should continue to follow the Staying safe at work guidance.

For further information on the latest guidance around use of face coverings, please read the information on requirements for face coverings and exemptions.

Private rented and social housing sectors

The Department has produced a guidance document setting out general advice and information predominantly for tenants and landlords in the private rented sector which can be accessed at COVID-19 Guidance for Private Sector Landlords and Tenants.

The Department has also produced a guidance document to support tenants and landlords in the social housing rented sector which can be accessed at COVID-19 Social Sector Guidance.

Self-isolating and quarantine

For full details on the requirements around self-isolation, quarantine and close contacts please read Coronavirus (COVID-19): self-isolating and close contacts | nidirect

Managing uncertainty

All parties involved in home buying and selling should prioritise agreeing amicable arrangements to change completion dates where someone in a chain or their family member is self-isolating or has tested positive for coronavirus.

Once you have exchanged contracts or signed a tenancy agreement, you have entered into a legal agreement to purchase or rent the property. We continue to encourage all parties to be as flexible as possible and be prepared to delay moves if necessary; for example if someone involved in the transaction becomes ill with COVID-19 during the moving process, or has to self-isolate.

If you are about to enter into a legally binding contract, you should discuss the possible implications of COVID-19 with your legal professional and consider making contractual provisions or other necessary measures to manage these risks.

Coming into close contact with other people

While there are no longer any legal restrictions on contact with others, we still advise caution and personal responsibility in situations involving physical contact with others.

Viewings

We continue to recommend that buyers take advantage of any opportunities to view homes remotely in the first instance before committing to view in person and then only to physically inspect properties they have strong interest in.

It is recommended that everyone continues to follow good hygiene practices including regular cleaning and ventilation and, although it is not a legal requirement, you should also consider wearing face coverings in enclosed areas when viewing or attending a property.

Tradespeople in the home

Tradespeople can continue to work in other people’s homes unless customers or tradespeople are self-isolating, as detailed above.

Members of the public should continue to consider good hygiene practices before tradespeople enter. This may involve cleaning items being carried by removals firms, wiping surfaces such as worktops and door handles, letting fresh air into rooms, and seeking to delay work if either party is showing COVID-19 symptoms.

Going further than this guidance

If you want additional measures or reasonable conditions in place for your move, please talk to the appropriate business about how to proceed.

These measures could include, for example, placing a cap on the number of visitors viewing your home at any one time. These measures are at the discretion of the homeowner and we would ask you to accommodate their wishes.

Agents and other industry professionals should ensure their clients are aware of and comply with these additional requirements, where they do not discriminate against protected characteristics.

 

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