Letting agents and the rental market in England are still in business even during the national lockdown already in force.
The government’s official guidance for England says that agents, as with all other workers, are advised to work from home wherever possible.But specifically it says:
You can still move home. People outside your household or support bubble should not help with moving house unless absolutely necessary.
Estate and letting agents and removals firms can continue to work. If you are looking to move, you can go to property viewings.
The lockdown is scheduled to end in mid-February, and resembles the March/April 2020 lockdown in terms of the closure of most other services around the country.
And Mark Hayward – Propertymark’s chief advisor – says: “We welcome the news that the housing market is to remain open throughout this new lockdown period, but it is essential that all agents continue to play their part in reducing the spread of the virus through following all relevant guidance on how to safely conduct viewings.
“It is vital that agents operate in accordance with government and Propertymark guidelines to help prevent the spread of Covid-19, keep movers and buyers safe and keep the housing market moving through these uncertain times.”
In Scotland, where a lockdown comes into effect at midnight tonight for the rest of Junuary, the guidance from the Holyrood government says: “For activities in connection with moving home (including viewing a property), or for activities in connection with the maintenance, purchase, sale, letting, or rental of residential property that the person owns or is otherwise responsible for. Travelling for the purposes of undertaking essential work on a property other than your main residence should not be used as a pretext for a holiday. You should not stay longer than for the length of time required to undertake the necessary work.”
More generally, the Scottish guidance says: “Although you can leave home for these purposes, you should stay as close to home as possible. Shop on-line or use local shops and services wherever you can. Travel no further than you need to reach to a safe, non-crowded place to exercise in a socially distanced way. To minimise the risk of spread of Coronavirus it is crucial that we all avoid unnecessary travel.”
These rules will apply across the Scottish mainland until at least the end of January and will be kept under review. Island areas will remain in Scottish tier three but will be ”monitored carefully” according to the SNP administration.
This post has originally been featured in Letting Agent Today.