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House moves in England given the green light by government

May 13, 2020
After almost two months of enforced inactivity in the UK’s moving market the Westminster government yesterday (12 May) gave the green light to allow house moves to resume in England. Restrictions remain however in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, at least for the time being.

The news will come as a welcome relief to everyone involved in the property market, which until the COVID-19 outbreak was enjoying one of the best spring seasons in recent years. While many moving companies will be keen to get back to work it is important to follow strict government guidelines at every stage of the move from conducting surveys to carrying out the move itself. An extract from the guidance dealing specifically with removals companies is below.

Removals firms

  • Removal firms are able to operate and should follow the latest government guidance on safer working. Where moves are carried out, social distancing should be followed. Companies should ensure employees understand how to operate safely and communicate this to customers.
  • Removers should contact the household in advance to check that no member of the household is showing symptoms of coronavirus or self-isolating. If they are, works should be delayed.
  • They should also encourage households to ensure all internal doors are open and surfaces and possessions have been cleaned with household cleaning products prior to them entering the property.
  • No work should be carried out by a person who has coronavirus symptoms, however mild.
  • Removers should wash their hands on entering the property using separate towels or paper towels which need to be washed or disposed of safely after use.
  • Removers should seek to minimise contact with homeowners and remain two metres apart from householders at all times.
  • Removers should implement a buddy system and ensure that the same people work together when moving bulky items and furniture.
  • Removers should bring their own refreshments, but you should ensure they have access to hand washing facilities, using separate towels or paper towels if possible, which should be washed or disposed of safely afterwards.

Full guidance covering other aspects of the moving process can be viewed here.

Rob Houghton, CEO of price comparison site, reallymoving has welcomed the news. “This is welcome news for the property industry and for the many thousands of home buyers and sellers across England who had to shelve their plans on 23 March,” said Rob. “For those close to exchange or completion it has been a particularly stressful time, but now the government has given the green light for the housing market to re-open I expect to see a flurry of completions over the next few weeks.”  

“Before the crisis hit we were experiencing the strongest spring market for several years and while some of this demand will have melted away, our research suggests a large proportion of buyers are keener than ever to press ahead with their home move. A survey of movers we carried out in the middle of April showed that the three quarters remain resolute about proceeding at the earliest opportunity.”

“While estate agents, surveyors, conveyancing solicitors and removals firms are eager to see the market return to normal, it will take time to adjust to new practices and ways of working. It’s vital that everyone involved in the buying and selling of property strictly observes government guidance on social distancing in order to help ensure the market can remain open long-term and that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are soon able to follow.”

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