Can you move house during the coronavirus lockdown?

The government has advised all transactions be put on hold
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  • 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. 

    move house during the coronavirus lockdown 1

    Image credit: 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:

    • Buyers and renters should, as far as possible, delay moving to a new house while emergency measures are in place. 
    • If you’re socially isolating or being shielded, it’s important to try to delay. Other parties should show pragmatism.
    • If moving is unavoidable because you’re contracted and the parties aren’t able to agree a delay, you must follow advice on social distancing when moving.

    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. 

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    Image credit: 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.

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