Can I still move house as Boris Johnson sets out new lockdown rules?

MOVING home is stressful enough but the new lockdown rules have added further worries for those relocating.

The rules announced today by Boris Johnson to help tackle the rising number of cases of coronavirus do not affect homemovers.

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Among the new measures are that pubs and restaurants will have to close at 10pm, but the guidance on moving home remains the same.

House buying and moving to a new rented home can continue to go ahead as planned for now.

But the government didn't rule out having to pause home moves in future, either nationally or locally.

What are the rules for moving house?

For now though, anyone moving house should do the following according to government guidance:

  • wash your hands frequently
  • keep as much distance as possible from other people who are not members of your household
  • Maintain a 2 meter distance where possible
  • Take extra precautions in close contact, such as wearing a mask

If you're using a removal firm or someone from another houshold is helping you, these extra rules apply on top of the ones outlined above:

  • try and do as much of the packing yourself
  • clean your belongings where possible before being handed
  • leave doors open
  • do not provide refreshments
  • use separate towels or paper towels for hand washing where possible

What about house viewings?

Viewings of properties ahead of a move may be different to usual, with estate agents offering virtual viewings instead of in person visits.

If the property you're living in is being viewed in person, you may be asked to leave for viewings.

And you might be asked to ensure thorough cleaning of the property you leave before someone else moves in.

Rules for moving house during lockdown

What were the rules for moving house during lockdown?

House moves were banned at the end of March and throughout April unless you had "reasonable grounds for doing so", such as you'd be made homeless if you didn't press ahead.

Moving house could only go ahead if the property you were moving into was empty, such as a new build home.

Moving into an occupied property could only happen if the sellers had made "explicit provision for the risks presented by the virus", such as deep cleaning it before the buyers took it on.

What are the rules on moving house now?

Rules on moving house in England were relaxed on May 18 as long as suitable safety measures are taken.

These include social distancing when showing people around the property, sellers vacating the property for viewings and ensuring all windows are open when looking around.

Viewers should avoid touching any surfaces and door handles should be cleaned before and after potential movers have left.

Agents and viewers are encouraged to regularly wash their hands before looking at a property, and to bring their own hand sanitiser.

Physical surveys can be carried out as long as the usual safety measures are observed.

Movers are encouraged to do as much of the packing themselves although using a removal company is allowed.

Home moves should not take place if anyone involved is showing signs and symptoms of coronavirus.

Home moves can be delayed if someone in the chain has Covid-19 or needs to self isolate that means they might not be able to move when planned.

Movers have been told they must be flexible and prepare for potential delays to moving dates.

For those exchanging contracts when buying a property or signing a tenancy agreement, it's worth making provisions for the move date changing if someone has to self-isolate or falls ill with the virus.

Previously home moves had been paused at the height of the pandemic, leaving hundreds of thousands of people unable to move home.

Those restrictions were lifted in May and in areas where there are local lockdowns, house moves have continued.

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