Coronavirus: Public allowed to move home under plans to re-start England’s housing market
The new government plans aim to restart the housing market.
People in England will be able to move home again “with immediate effect” under an easing of the coronavirus lockdown aimed at shoring up the housing market, the Government has announced.
The move - which comes amid a wider lifting of curbs around outdoor travel and a call for people unable to work from home to head back in - means estate agents’ offices can reopen and house viewings will be permitted from Wednesday.
Meanwhile show homes are also being given the green-light to open their doors, and removal companies are being told they can start working “with immediate effect”.
The new rules replace a previous ban which ruled out home moves unless “reasonably necessary”.
Announcing the move, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “Our clear plan will enable people to move home safely, covering each aspect of the sales and letting process from viewings to removals.
“Our step by step plan is based on the latest guidance to ensure the safety and protection of everyone involved.”
He added: “This critical industry can now safely move forward, and those waiting patiently to move can now do so.”
The Government estimates that more than 450,000 buyers have been unable to move ahead with their plans to move home since the nationwide coronavirus lockdown was imposed in March.
Under the new rules, all buyers and renters will now be able to complete purchases and view properties in person provided they adhere to wider social distancing guidelines, which stress the need for hand-washing and maintaining two metres’ distance.
"This critical industry can now safely move forward, and those waiting patiently to move can now do so" - Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick
Builders will also be able to speak to councils about more flexible working hours for construction sites to allow them to stagger start times, while local authorities and developers will able to publicise planning applications through social media rather than with physical posters and leaflets.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said smaller property developers would also be able to defer payments to local councils in a bid to stop them going to the wall, while a new charter has been drawn up with major home builders to help sites reopen in line with health and safety guidance.
Stewart Baseley of the Home Builders Federation, said: “The industry sustains hundreds of thousands of people in numerous roles and associated sectors, boosting local economies across the country.
"A resumption of work will play a major part in helping the economy recover as well as delivering the homes the country needs.”