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Delay moving homes during COVID-19

The government has urged people to delay moving homes to limit the spread of Covid-19 across the UK.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has released official guidance for renters and buyers which says:

“Buyers and renters should delay moving homes while emergency stay-at-home measures are in place.”

The Government has advised anyone buying or selling a property to put their transaction on hold. Homes are explicitly not among the “essentials” for which we can still shop during this outbreak.

However, since renters do not own their current home they are unclear how the restrictions apply to them.

New guidelines from the Ministry for Housing, Community and Local Government state:

“Home buyers and renters should, where possible, delay moving to a new house while measures are in place to fight coronavirus (COVID-19).”

The guidance stresses this particularly in cases where the property that people intend to move into is currently occupied.

Mr Jenrick advises: “If moving is unavoidable because you’re contracted and the parties aren’t able to agree on a delay, you must follow advice on social distancing when moving.”

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David Cox, chief executive at ARLA Propertymark suggested people to hold house moves, for now, to adhere to government guidance.

He said: “We are asking tenants to stay put for the duration of this period, continue paying rent, and to seek government assistance if they’re struggling with their rent costs.”

Housing charity Shelter says tenants should negotiate with both their old and new landlords over their start and end dates.
The current tenancy would then usually continue as a periodic tenancy. It will be rolling every month rather than a fixed-term contract.

In line with the government’s advice, anyone with symptoms, self-isolating or shielding from the virus, should follow medical advice. It means not moving house for the time being, if at all possible. All parties should prioritise agreeing to amicable arrangements to change move dates.