How to advise your tenants on looking for a property and moving home during COVID-19
Tenants will need to change the way carry out their property search, arrange flexible contracts, and manage their moves carefully to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
The lettings industry has been given the go ahead to restart activity by the government, but, just as agents will have to change the way they handle the lettings process, tenants will need to change the way they look for a property, make a tenancy agreement, and then move into a new home. We’ve put together a guide to the advice you’ll need to give your tenants about keeping safe during this process.
Looking for a property
People should be searching for properties online and viewing properties virtually in the first instance. Physical viewings should only be arranged when people are seriously interested in making an offer on a property. Viewings will take place by appointment and should only involve members of a single household. When viewing a property, everyone should wash their hands and avoid touching any surfaces and social distancing rules should be followed wherever possible. Agents can accompany people on viewings, but again, social distancing rules will need to be followed. If any member of either the household being viewed, or the household undertaking a viewing, is showing symptoms of coronavirus or is self-isolating, physical viewings should be delayed.
Making offers and signing agreements
People are free to make an offer on a property as normal, but, as there is a greater risk that they may need to delay their move because someone in their household is showing symptoms of coronavirus or self-isolating, agents and tenants will need to work together to arrange contracts that accommodate this risk. Once a tenant has agreed to move home by signing a tenancy agreement, they’ve entered into a legal agreement to move. The government is encouraging everyone to be as flexible as possible over this period and be prepared to delay moves if needed and should not expect to move into any home where people are ill or self-isolating.
Removal firms are allowed to operate, but they may need to adjust their processes to make sure moves happen as safely as possible. Tenants should contact removal firms as early as possible to organise their move. They should try and do as much of the packing as possible themselves and clean their belongings with standard cleaning products before they are handled by anyone else. While the removers are in their home, they should ensure any internal doors are open and seek to minimise contact with the crew, maintaining a distance of at least two metres where possible. Everyone should wash their hands and avoid touching surfaces where possible to reduce the risk of transmitting the coronavirus. Removers should have access to hand washing facilities, with separate towels or paper towels if possible, which should be washed or disposed of safely afterwards.
This article is intended as a guide only, is not exhaustive, and does not constitute legal advice. It's based on the on home moving during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Please refer to gov.uk for more information.