Last night the Housing Minister, Robert Jenrick, announced that "anyone in England can move home if they follow new guidance".
The latest updates to the Covid Regulations are a welcome relief to the housing market and will allow people to visit estate agents, lettings agents, developer's sales offices and show homes. It is also now a ‘reasonable excuse’ to leave your home to “undertake any of the following activities in connection with the purchase, sale, letting or rental of a residential property:
- visiting estate or letting agents, developer sales offices or show homes;
- viewing residential properties to look for a property to buy or rent;
- preparing a residential property to move in;
- moving home;
- visiting a residential property to undertake any activities required for the rental or sale of that property”.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government have also set out proposals to:
- allow builders to agree more flexible construction site working hours with their local council, such as staggering builders’ arrival times, easing pressure on public transport;
- enable local councils and developers to publicise planning applications through social media instead of having to rely on posters and leaflets; and
- support smaller developers by allowing them to defer payments to local councils, helping those struggling with their cash flow while ensuring communities.
These updates and proposals are a great relief to the housing market and should begin to unlock the market again. However, I would caution that it is unlikely to be completely smooth sailing for some time yet. Transactions will need to be tailored to each set of circumstances and will need to allow continued flexibility to purchasers and their changing circumstances. I also suspect there will continue to be some element of Buyer reluctance so soon after the announcement.
But it is definitely a step in the right direction.
From today (13 May 2020) anyone in England can move home if they follow new guidance published by Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick. Since lockdown restrictions were implemented in March, more than 450,000 people have been unable to progress their plans to move house. All buyers and renters will now be able to complete purchases and view properties in person, while estate agents, conveyancers and removals firms can return to work while following social distancing guidelines.