Second lockdown: can I still move house?
The announcement of a second lockdown is likely to cause some concern among those in the process of moving house. Maria Richards, Partner and Head of Coodes Solicitors’ Residential Property team, reassures clients that the conveyancing process is set to continue as normal.
The announcement of a second lockdown, from 5 November to 2 December, has raised some questions about the impact on the housing market. It is not surprising that people are concerned about these new restrictions. After all, the lockdown in spring brought the housing market to a temporary halt.
Reassurance ahead of the new lockdown
We are awaiting some detail about the new four-week lockdown, which is due to be announced on Thursday. However, in the meantime, Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government has offered his assurance that the housing market can continue to operate.
In a social media post, he has specified that:
- Renters and homeowners will be able to move
- Removal firms and estate agents can operate
- Construction sites can and should continue
- Tradespeople will be able to enter homes
- But all should follow the Covid safety guidance
What does it mean for my move?
The second lockdown, as we currently understand it, is not set to directly apply to the property market. That means that if you are in the process of buying or selling your property, the new restrictions should not impact on your plans. However, with any move that involves a chain, your sale or purchase is reliant on several other people. The new restrictions could potentially have a knock-on effect on your move if, for example, anyone else in the chain is forced to change their plans as a result of the impact of the lockdown.
Maintaining social distancing
It is, of course, important that we all continue to take steps to reduce the risk of transmission throughout the process of moving house. This means, for example, maintaining at least a two-metre distance from others when viewing a property. The Government is also advising to continue to take additional precautions, such as wearing a face covering and regularly washing or sanitising hands, when meeting those outside of your household.
Working with you
Here at Coodes, we have been, very successfully, working remotely to offer a continuous service throughout the pandemic. For our Residential Property clients, this has included streamlining processes to enable clients to complete forms and submit documentation electronically. To minimise face-to-face contact, we have moved almost entirely to video conferencing and phone calls, rather than meeting in person.
We are staying in close contact with other conveyancing professionals, such as search providers, estate agents and surveyors to ensure we are aware of any impact on their services and timescales. We will continue to keep our clients updated, especially if any delays are expected.
For now, it looks likely that anyone’s plans to buy or sell a property should not be directly impacted by the second lockdown. However, we will continue to monitor this changing situation and will keep in touch with our clients throughout.