What Are The Current Covid Rules For Shifting Home
As the United Kingdom approaches the end of its second year of living with Covid-19, the rules for viewing properties and moving houses have shifted. The Plan B restrictions, imposed late last year to combat the rise of the Omicron variant, have been mostly lifted, and this week, Boris Johnson announced that all remaining Covid restrictions in England may be lifted later this month.
However, there are still rules in place, which vary depending on where you live and whether or not you’ve been fully vaccinated. We urge everyone involved in the home buying and selling process to maintain good hygiene practices, such as regular hand-washing, ventilation, cleaning, and considering the use of face coverings, especially in situations such as short periods in enclosed spaces.
These precautions will aid in preventing the spread of infection. To mitigate the risk posed by COVID-19, real estate agents, conveyancers, and other professionals may choose to keep some of their current practices. These changes may have an impact on your move and may include initial virtual viewings prior to in-person viewings, requiring you to vacate your current property during viewings, and ensuring your property is thoroughly cleaned before someone else views or moves in. We would appreciate it if you could cooperate with these measures where they are in place.
Can I view a property in person?
Yes, you can, as long as you haven’t had a recent positive test for Covid-19. If you have, you must still self-isolate in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland for a minimum of five days. If both lateral flow tests on days five and six of your isolation are negative, you can stop isolating. If you are not fully vaccinated and live in the same household as someone with Covid-19, you are legally required to stay at home and self-isolate for 10 full days if two lateral flow tests taken a day apart do not yield negative results.
If you have symptoms or test positive for Covid-19 in Scotland, you should self-isolate for 10 days. If you don’t have a fever and test negative on two consecutive lateral flow tests on days six and seven, you can end self-isolation early. To be able to end self-isolation, you should also ensure that your temperature is not too high. If you have had close contact with someone in Scotland who has Covid-19 and is fully vaccinated, you must take daily lateral flow tests for seven days but do not need to self-isolate. Even if your test is negative, you must self-isolate and postpone property viewings if you are not fully vaccinated.
Do I have to wear a face mask?
It all depends on where you live. There is no longer a legal requirement in England to do so though if you’re viewing a property, a homeowner may ask you to, and some estate agents may prefer you to wear a mask in their office as well. The government advises you to continue wearing a face-covering in crowded and enclosed areas where you may come into contact with people you do not normally meet. If you’re looking at properties in London and taking the Tube or bus, you must still wear a face mask unless you’re exempt. Face coverings are still required in most public places in Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales.
When someone in a chain or a family member is self-isolating or has tested positive for coronavirus, all parties involved in the home buying and selling process should prioritize agreeing on amicable arrangements to change completion dates. You have entered into a legal agreement to buy or rent the property once you have exchanged contracts or signed a tenancy agreement. We continue to encourage all parties to be as flexible as possible and to be willing to postpone moves if necessary, such as if someone involved in the transaction becomes ill with COVID-19 during the moving process and needs to self-isolate.
When someone in a chain or a family member is self-isolating or has tested positive for coronavirus, all parties involved in the home buying and selling process should prioritize agreeing on amicable arrangements to change completion dates.
If you are about to enter into a legally binding contract, you should consult with a legal professional about the potential implications of COVID-19 and consider making contractual provisions or other necessary measures to manage these risks. You should not expect to be able to move into a home where people have COVID-19 or are self-isolating right away. If someone in the transaction exhibits COVID-19 symptoms or is self-isolating, there is a greater chance that the home move will have to be postponed.
Can I ask people to wear a face mask while viewing my property?
You certainly can. It is not legally binding in England, but it is your home, and you make the rules. If you’re concerned, you can request that your estate agent ensure that buyers are wearing masks before showing them around. During a viewing, you may also be asked to vacate your current residence. If you’re a tenant and your home is scheduled for viewings, it’s a good idea to reach an agreement with your landlord about what’s best for you.
What happens if I test positive close to the completion date?
You should postpone the move until you have completed self-isolation. Solicitors can draught contractual provisions to manage the risks and potential consequences of a delay, as well as discuss your options with you.
Can tradespeople come inside my home?
Yes, unless they have recently had a positive Covid-19 test or anyone in your home is self-isolating. It’s still a good idea to disinfect surfaces before and after visits and to keep the windows open to keep your rooms well-ventilated.
What’s the latest guidance on moving home to Scotland?
You can still see properties if you wear a mask and are not self-isolating. Virtual viewings may assist you in reducing the number of properties you visit.
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