Following the official announcement of a new national lockdown, the Government has confirmed that letting agents in England can continue to work during the new national lockdown.
The Cabinet Office has published the ‘National lockdown: Stay at Home’ guidance. This guidance covers the rules and restrictions, along with what you can and can’t do under the new national lockdown.
Under the section “When you can leave home”, the guidance specifically states that:
“There are further reasonable excuses. For example, you may leave home to fulfil legal obligations or to carry out activities related to buying, selling, letting or renting a residential property”
Specifically covering “Moving home” the guidance states that:
“You can still move home. People outside your household or support bubble should not help with moving house unless absolutely necessary.
Estate and letting agents and removals firms can continue to work. If you are looking to move, you can go to property viewings.
Useful links for letting agents in England:
What about agents in Scotland?
The Scottish Government has also enforced a full lockdown from January 5, running until at least the end of the month.
People in Scotland are being advised to ‘stay as close to home as possible’ and use local shops and services.
Scottish agents will be able to continue working, while people will be able to move as the guidance states people can leave home for ‘activities in connection with moving home’.
These activities include viewing a property, maintenance and anything related to purchase, sale, letting or renting of residential property ‘that the person owns or is otherwise responsible for’.
The guidance adds: “Travelling for the purposes of undertaking essential work on a property other than your main residence should not be used as a pretext for a holiday. You should not stay longer than for the length of time required to undertake the necessary work.”
Useful links for Scottish agents:
Agents in Wales and Northern Ireland can also continue to work
Wales moved into alert level 4 restrictions – also similar to a full lockdown – on December 20 in response to the spread of the new variant of Covid-19.
Agents in Wales must close to the public, although moving home can still take place if the moving date cannot be delayed until alert level 4 restrictions are lifted.
Virtual viewings are being strongly advised. However, in-person viewings can take place, albeit with household mixing banned during appointments.
Further activities associated with moving home, such as removals, key handovers, surveys, valuations and property preparation can still take place in line with the Welsh Government’s guidance on working in other people’s homes.
Meanwhile, the Government in Northern Ireland introduced additional lockdown-style restrictions on Boxing Day, telling residents that the single most important action they can take is to ‘stay at home’.
The guidance states that one of the exemptions for household mixing is a house move or associated activities for that purpose, including viewing properties and making arrangements for removals.
Agents are permitted to remain open ‘to facilitate the buying and selling of property’, including associated activities such as property viewings. However, consumers are not permitted to enter agency branches.
You can see the full guidance, including information on work carried out in private homes, here.