Government issues guidance when home moving during the COVID-19 crisis

The Government has issued guidance to all stakeholders in the housing sector which basically states ‘if you can delay your home sale then you should’ and owners should ‘delay placing homes on the market’.

This guidance is particularly relevant for home buyers, renters, homeowners, Property Agents and Surveyors/Energy Assessors.

Further advice to the public includes;

  • Home buyers and renters should, where possible, delay moving
  • If the process has started then “all parties should work together to agree a delay or another way to resolve this matter”
  • If moving is unavoidable then you must “follow advice on staying away from others, to minimise the spread of the virus”
  • Anyone with symptoms, self-isolating or shielding from the virus, should follow medical advice

With regards to ‘Surveyors’ (for which we would read ‘Energy Assessors'), they state:

  • Surveyors should not expect to carry out non-urgent surveys in homes where people are in residence,
  • No inspections should take place if any person in the property is showing symptoms, self-isolating or being shielded.
  • It may be possible to carry out some of your work online and also carry out urgent surveys on empty properties, or those where the occupants are out of the property or following guidance to stay at home and away from others.
  • No work should be carried out by a person who has coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, however mild.

But if a visit is conducted then...

  • Surveyors should follow the latest Government guidance which currently (26 March 2020) states that work carried out in people’s homes can continue, provided the tradesperson is well and has no symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • Surveyors should maintain a 2 metre distance from others, and wash their hands with soap and water often for at least 20 seconds (or use hand sanitiser gel, if soap and water is unavailable).

Furthermore, The Government's guidance to homeowners, states that if your house is not already on the market than people should follow the government's advice to stay at home and away from others "which means that you should not invite unnecessary visitors into your home, including: Property Agents to carry out a market appraisal or to take internal photographs prior to marketing your home; and Energy Performance Certificate assessors.”

Elmhurst’s Managing Director, Martyn Reed, commented “We welcome the extra guidance from Government which, combined with the financial protection announced yesterday, should help Energy Assessors who may feel pressurised to work. You will note that surveying, and therefore energy assessment, is to be avoided but not “banned”, which does align with our own guidance issued to members earlier this week”  

To read the guidance issued by government click here.

To read Elmhurst's COVID-19 FAQs click here.

Article published: 27th March 2020

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