Brits advised not to move home during COVID-19 outbreak

Jessica Nangle

March 27, 2020

residential property transactions

Britons are being advised not to move home during the coronavirus outbreak to adhere to rules on social distancing.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has ordered that home buyers and renters should, where possible, delay moving to a new house whilst isolation measures are in place.

The government’s new advice states: “Given the situation in the UK with regard to the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), we urge parties involved in home moving to adapt and be flexible to alter their usual processes.

“There is no need to pull out of transactions, but we all need to ensure we are following guidance to stay at home and away from others at all times, including the specific measures for those who are presenting symptoms, self-isolating or shielding.

“Prioritising the health of individuals and the public must be the priority”.

The government adds that if all parties are “unable to reach an agreement to delay, people must follow advice on staying away from others to minimise the spread of the virus”.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick tweeted this morning to outline the key points from the guidance, which also includes estate agents working remotely to support clients and those selling their homes to adhere to social distancing measures by halting house viewings.


This guidance comes as a number of lenders have halted new mortgage applications for house purchases until the outbreak comes to an end.

UK Finance has confirmed that to support those who have already exchanged contracts for house purchases and set dates for completion, all lenders are working to find ways to enable these customers to extend their offer for up to three months so they can move at a later date.

The government’s guidance continues that “if a customer’s circumstances change during this three month period or the terms of the house purchase change significantly… lenders will work with customers to help them manage their finances as a matter of urgency”.

The buying and selling process is allowed to continue as normal, however the government has warned that the process is likely to take longer than usual.

The government guidance also states that conveyancers should continues to support the sales process as far as possible and should “make their clients aware of the difficulties of completing transactions in this period”.

Surveyors have been told not to carry out non-urgent surveys in homes where people are in residence, however states that “work carried out in people’s homes can continue, provided the tradesperson is well and has no symptoms of coronavirus”.

William Michael, partner and head of real estate residential at JMW Solicitors London, added: The government have finally provided some guidance for those involved in the buying/selling process.

“The guidance boldly suggests that buyers and sellers should not pull out of transactions as a result of the current climate, but follow the government’s guidance on staying safe.

“Very useful advice is also given on the type of transaction that should be able to proceed, such as the purchases of vacant properties.

“In addition, the guidance also goes onto state that with occupied properties, all parties should agree alternative timescales for moves when it is likely that stay-at-home measures will no longer be in place.”

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