COVID-19 has brought a lot of uncertainty - particularly for renters.
With the announcement of a second lockdown, there's still questions of if renters can still move.
Before you start booking property inspections, make sure you know all the facts and what precautions you need to take.
Here we’ve simplified all the information into five points for renters looking to move.
1. What was the announcement?
The UK government announced a second lockdown between Thursday 5 November and Wednesday 2 December. Mixing with other households inside homes is banned during this time and travel is only allowed for specific purposes only including shopping for essentials.
Secretary of State for Housing Robert Jenrick has confirmed that renters and homeowners will still be able to move and the housing market will remain open.
People are not allowed to move temporarily but can move to a new permanent primary address.
2. Who does this apply to?
This regulation applies to those in England. Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland’s COVID-19 where tougher restrictions were already in place.
3. Can I continue to look or inspect properties?
Yes but estate agents, landlords, and renters must follow COVID-19 safety guidance.
It is up to landlords, agents and removal companies to implement practices that they see fit. This includes virtual viewings, all tenants vacating their property during viewings, and ensuring the property is cleaned before the next tenant.
If you are unsure be sure to ask your landlord or agent about their safety measures.
4. What is the guidance on viewings?
As per the previous lockdown guidance:
- Visits must be by appointment only.
- Open house viewings should not take place.
- Speculative viewings are highly discouraged.
- All physical viewings where renters will be entering the property should involve no more than two households inside the property at any one time.
5. What precautions should I take when inspecting properties?
The landlord or property agent should:
- Have online viewings first.
- Ask you and all those currently living in the property if anyone has displayed COVID-19 symptoms or are in a high-risk category. Viewings should not be conducted if anyone has said yes.
- Outline the safety practices they have put in place including if masks and gloves will be worn, and how the property will be sanitised before and after viewings.
- Brief you on social distancing guidelines e.g. washing hands and keeping a 2m distance.
- Minimise contact by asking for your information to be provided digitally where possible.
If you are viewing the property you should:
- Try to use private transportation (walking, a car or by bike) where possible.
- Keep to the viewing time to reduce crossing paths with any other inspections.
- View properties outside of peak travel times (6am – 10am and 4pm – 7pm) where possible.
- Bring hand sanitiser, wear a face mask and gloves, and bring your own bottle of water.
- Use your phone to film the property and clearly record any questions you have asked to minimise touching more items.
- Try not to touch doors, light switches or other common surfaces in the property. The landlord or agent should have opened all internal doors and turned on all lights.
- Wash hands after the viewing.
If you're a renter whose place is being inspected, here’s how you can keep safe.