The introduction of a third national lockdown and new Covid-19 safety measures have been introduced by the Government, following a rapid spread of the virus, in England. While schools, non-essential shops and dine-in hospitality are all forced to close, estate agency may continue to operate, following the latest Government guidance.
With this in mind, we reveal how the property buying, selling and renting process is affected and key information for a Covid-secure house move during the third lockdown.
While the property sector remains open during the third national lockdown, house hunters should ensure they choose an estate agent operating under the latest Government guidelines. House viewings and appointments must be arranged virtually first and as much as possible should be done to mitigate contact with others. Digital tools allow homebuyers to view properties completely virtually and there have been reports of a rise in the purchase of homes through totally digital means. The introduction of virtual viewing tools provides a whole host of benefits, including saving time and staying safe, by allowing you to view several properties in a single day from the comfort of your home. Arrange a virtual viewing appointment to go through further details of the home with your estate agent.
Physical viewings and meetings are permitted to take place with serious buyers but must be by appointment only and should be avoided where possible. When you have found your dream home, if you would prefer to view the property in person, your agent will be able to arrange a physical viewing, in line with the latest public health advice. Agents and viewers of a property should not travel together, must wear face coverings, should maintain social distancing measures and should follow proper hygeine measures. Households who are self-isolating, quarantining are not permitted to meet. Find your local Fine & Country agent to arrange a virtual viewing or meeting about your dream home today.
For more information, read our Covid-19 safety measures and our guide to house hunting during Covid-19.
Selling a property
Plans to sell your home do not need to be put on hold during the latest lockdown. According to the latest Government guidance, you can still have meetings with your estate agent, but virtual options should be used first and wherever possible to reduce the chances of the virus spreading. Our digital valuation and viewing options enable our agents to carry out a valuation professionally and completely virtually, delivering the same quality and level of expertise you would find in a physical valuation. Through providing property details, videos and images, guided by your agent, Fine & Country can value and market your property without the need for a visit, keeping you and your community safe.
For more information, read our Covid-19 health and safety measures.
Your property can still be marketed professionally during the lockdown when you choose an agent with access to digital tools that are adapted for the current climate. Our agents have virtual viewing tools to create professional property tours, giving you guidance on how to film the home yourself then by editing the recordings to create an engaging video to showcase your home. Videographers and photographers may still operate for the estate agency sector. It is advised that homeowners vacate the premises and follow the guidance on reducing risks of COVID-19 transmission if someone is to visit your home.
If you are selling your home virtually, read our top tips to host virtual viewings.
Also, read our tips for taking photos and videos of your home.
The health and safety of tenants should continue to be a priority. Property maintenance and repairs are still permitted to be carried out to provide a safe and comfortable home, in line with the latest public health advice. It is advised that landlords and agents arrange safety checks and maintenance repairs between a tenant vacating the property and a tenant moving in. Where this is not possible, local authorities, landlords and tradespeople may enter a tenant’s home for these purposes, following hygiene measures and social distancing. Tenants should stay in a separate room to visitors where possible.
Interim inspections are to be carried out via video calls, in which your agent will make clear notes of the property, just as they would with a physical inspection.
The Government advises that all property viewings and meetings should be carried out virtually first and wherever possible to decrease the need for contact with others. COVID-secure measures must be carefully followed for any physical visits to a property. In occupied lets, tenants should receive a reasonable notice period before physical viewings, and it is advised they vacate the property or stay in a separate room to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission. All viewings or meetings should take place in accordance with the latest Government guidance.
End of tenancy check out and moving house
Virtual tenancy check-outs can be effectively carried out without the need for a physical meeting, supported by inventory reports and final checks within the empty property.
Tenants are permitted to move into a new permanent residence during the third lockdown, unless they are required to isolate, or the old tenants are still isolating. This still applies if the tenant is moving into a new shared occupancy. As a precaution, Fine & Country agents will advise landlords to have a ‘three-day void period’ between previous tenants vacating and new tenants taking up residence. This is based on results from research that has found the Coronavirus can still be detectable on surfaces for up to 72 hours. Letting agents and landlords should also clean the property before new tenancies to prevent the spread of the virus.
Legislation has been put in place by the Government to protect tenants during the coronavirus outbreak. Landlords must delay proceedings to evict tenants and are required to give a longer notice period under the Coronavirus Act 2020. Read more from the Government advisory guide for landlords and tenants here.
Moving to a new permanent residence is still permitted during the latest lockdown, according to current Government guidelines. All parties involved in the home moving process, including estate agents, removal companies, property valuers and other property professionals may continue to operate during the lockdown, following the latest guidance on practical steps to reduce transmission. When moving house, movers should maintain social distancing, limit the number of households they come into contact with, follow hygiene measures and wear face coverings indoors.
Homemovers should also be flexible and prepare for potential delays in the moving process due to parties who must self-isolate.
For more information, read our guide on Removal Planning For A Smooth Move During COVID-19.
Fine & Country are dedicated to putting the health and safety of our communities first. Read our Covid-19 Health and Safety measures to discover the actions Fine & Country offices are taking to achieve a Covid-secure service.
If you are looking to move house during the third lockdown, our agents are available to guide you through the process safely, following Government guidelines. Contact your local Fine & Country agent to find out more.