Coronavirus and moving home
Coronavirus and moving home
People with house moves scheduled will probably need to change their plans because of the coronavirus outbreak. We look at the Government’s advice on home moves and how it could affect you.
Please note: The information in this article was correct at the time of publication on 13 May 2020, but, because of the impact of COVID-19, things are changing rapidly. We aim to keep this page updated, but please check with your mortgage provider or potential provider directly to confirm any details.
Can I move house during the coronavirus pandemic?
On 13 May the Government amended the COVID-19 regulations to make clear that people can move home. But it says the process of finding and moving into a new home will need to be different, to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus.
Changes include making sure your property is thoroughly cleaned before someone else moves in and doing as much of the packing yourself, as you can. For more information, see Government guidance on home moving.
See Government instructions on social distancing.
This guidance applies only in England. In Wales, moving house is allowed, but only where it can’t be postponed. In Scotland, people are urged to delay moving home while stay-at-home measures are in place, and the situation is similar in Northern Ireland.
What if I’m renting and have a move scheduled?
Moving home in England is now possible, provided guidelines are followed.
See Government guidance on moving home during the coronavirus outbreak.
See more on renting and coronavirus.
What if I have coronavirus symptoms, am self-isolating or shielding from COVID-19?
People who are shielding should follow medical advice to stay away from others. That means not moving house if at all possible for the time being. All parties involved in your move – or the move of someone else in the chain who’s in this situation – are urged to come to a friendly arrangement about changing the moving date.
If you have coronavirus or are self-isolating, you should not move home. Again, the Government is urging all parties to agree to change move dates in these situations.
What about my mortgage agreement?
To help movers affected by COVID-19, mortgage providers are working to enable customers who’ve exchanged contracts, to extend their mortgage offer for up to three months. This is so they can move at a later date.
UK Finance says if your circumstances or the terms of the house purchase change during the three months, and continuing with the mortgage would cause you financial hardship, lenders will work with you to help you manage your finances as an urgent priority.
Can I put my house on the market?
Yes, you can put your house on the market. Estate agents can now visit your home to take photos and videos, but the process of marketing a property will be different, with initial viewings taking place virtually online, and strict hygiene guidelines in place.
Can I still have viewers look at my home?
The Government says initial viewings should now be done virtually on the internet where possible. People can visit your home to view it, but all physical viewings should be limited to members of the same household. Also, the Government recommends you leave your home while viewings are happening.
The Government says that estate agents may ‘accompany physical viewings’, as long as they keep a distance of two metres from other people, whenever they can. However, in areas of a home that are too small for social distancing, or very enclosed, they should wear a covering over their face, if possible.
Whether you’re viewing a property or showing people round, strict hygiene measures must be followed. For example, you should wash your hands thoroughly straight after you enter the premises. Also, all door handles and surfaces must be cleaned before anyone enters the property in the first place.
Open house viewings should not take place.
See detailed Government guidance on property viewings.
See guidance on social distancing.
Can I accept an offer on my property?
Yes, you can accept an offer on your property. But you’ll need to be aware that the process may take longer than usual.