Can you move house during the coronavirus lockdown?

The government has advised all transactions be put on hold

Coronavirus has impacted our everyday lives, jobs, wallet and now our homes. If you were due to move house during the coronavirus lockdown, you might want to cancel the removal van. 

The government has advised anyone buying or selling homes to put their transactions on hold. 

Related: Zoopla reveals the impact of coronavirus on the housing market

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove, told BBC News, that anyone who hasn't exchanged contracts should pause their transactions. However, he explained that anyone in the process of completing might need to go ahead. 

house exterior with brick wall and white window

(Image credit: future PLC/Tom Meadows)

'These will be specific circumstances where people will still be buying or selling, but if at all possible people should stay in their current home,' he explained. 

Can you move house during the coronavirus lockdown?

Yesterday, Robert Jenrick added further clarity for the government's stance on moving house. After discussions with the Law Society he posted on Twitter:

'Many people have asked what to do if you're moving house at this time? @mhclg has worked with the @TheLawSociety to ensure people are properly advised,' he wrote.

His advice follows:

What to do if you've already exchange contracts

'This advice is still very unclear,' explains the Home Owners Alliance. 'But we would advise if you've already exchanged contracts you are legally committed to complete the transaction - so try to complete and move in asp. Speak to your conveyancer/ solicitor urgently and your buyer and/or seller. Try to come to a fair and reasonable way forward.'

However, if you can't arrange a delay there is the added dilemma of whether you will be able to hire a removal van for the move.

garden area with van and ladder with flower pot

(Image credit: future PLC/Spike Powell)

The British Association of Removals told Which? that it had issued 'strong recommendations' to its members to complete any moves that are already underway. They also advised to cancel or suspend any that haven't yet commenced. 

However, they added that the final decision on whether to proceed lays with individual companies. If you are stuck and unable to find a removal firm still operating, the Home Owners Alliance recommends renting a van. 

'Rent a van and enlist friends to help, as long as you follow the social distancing guidelines,' HOA explains.

One thing is clear, if you can delay a house sale or purchase, you should do so.

Related: Would you try this unusual way of house hunting during the coronavirus lockdown?

It might seem like a monumental pain to push back moving house. However, if you delay the move and everyone complies with government advice, hopefully, you'll be in your new home in no time.

Rebecca Knight
Deputy Editor, Digital

Rebecca Knight has been the Deputy Editor on the Ideal Home Website since 2022. She graduated with a Masters degree in magazine journalism from City, University of London in 2018, before starting her journalism career as a staff writer on women's weekly magazines. She fell into the world of homes and interiors after joining the Ideal Home website team in 2019 as a Digital Writer. In 2020 she moved into position of Homes News Editor working across Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, Gardeningetc and Ideal Home covering everything from the latest viral cleaning hack to the next big interior trend.