Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic – the home moving industry has now grinded to a halt. The government have stepped in to BAN face-to-face property viewings and buyers that are close to completion – are all now left in Limbo.

  • All property viewings have now stopped
  • NO sales / purchases can now take place unless it is classed as essential
  • Those who have already exchanged contracts are now left in limbo

The property market has now effectively closed down after the government issued guidelines to all estate and letting agents to stop ALL face-to-face viewings.

They have also advised that no house moves can take place unless they are considered to be essential moves, and all of those people who have currently exchanged contracts, are asked to hold fire till further notice.

The government have BANNED ALL face to face viewings regarding all sales / purchases / renting.

Estate agents have urgently asked for more clarification as to the next steps people who are committed to imminent moves should take, whether it is a purchase or rental.

The British association of movers have stated that only moves that are currently in progress should complete. Many removal companies have already taken steps to cancel all future moves till further notice.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the public have been told to stay at home, meaning that the property market will grind to a halt.

Under government guidelines, experts have explained how estate agents and lettings agents are now classed as being ‘non-essential’ businesses.

It means that they must close their offices and get their staff to work from home where possible.

This means that the people who are in the process of moving homes, whether a sale or rental, are left in limbo as to what happens next.

Many are calling for further information on the guidance, which is not be clear as it could be, particularly those with moves due.

For example, what is now in store for people who have already exchanged contracts with completion of their purchase imminent?

Mark Hayward, chief executive of NAEA Propertymark, called for clarification, saying that there will be circumstances where people are told it is not possible to move despite having exchanged contracts on a purchase or committed to a rental agreement.

He said ‘If the property you are moving to is not vacant, then you will not be able to take possession.

‘Someone may be in it with the virus and unable to move, or you may want it cleaned if the vendor had the virus.’

He also added: ‘The whole world is on hold. The Government has announced measures to help businesses but has provided no detail behind them.

‘We are waiting on guidance as to the essential visits that agents may take, such as gas safety amid other such inspections.

‘Agents are told to close their offices, not their business. The majority are working remotely as are their staff.’

This follows various announcements regarding the housing market on the back of the coronavirus crisis.

This includes offering homeowners and landlords a 3-month payment holiday on their mortgage as well as banning evictions for tenants who can’t pay their rent for 3 months.

There is some encouraging news though, with experts stating that the pause in the transaction, will allow time and opportunity to analyse the move and whether it is what they really want.

Ben Johnston, director of off-market property app Houso, said: ”Those who were looking to buy and sell just a few weeks ago will, broadly speaking, still be looking to move when this is over.

‘Indeed, as we are expected to stay at home for the foreseeable future, we have more time on our hands to look at property online and may be spending many hours eyeing our own homes in a critical fashion.

‘It could be that after the restrictions are lifted more people wish to move and change their lifestyle – perhaps leaving an urban environment for the countryside – rather than fewer.’