Moving home is always a stressful time and the current housing market lockdown just adds to the tension. Last month the Scottish and UK Governments provided guidance on how we are to approach moving homes while the restrictions are in place
The web links to both sets of guidance are:
The UK guide is aimed at the house sales market. The points made in the UK Guide are echoed in the Scottish Document.
The views of the industry bodies, namely The Council of Letting Agents (CLA) and ARLA are to abide by the mantra Keep Safe, Protect our NHS.
This is also the tack the British Association of Removers (BAR) whose website carries the following advice to their members:
Monday 20th April 2020 –
There is no more pressing priority than continuing to heed to the Government’s instructions and cancelling all but the most essential move transactions, and even then, only fulfilling those very few exceptional transactions once a full risk assessment has been completed and agreed by both the mover and the consumer. Any necessary* PPE will need to be procured and provided to all crew members, and any associated costs agreed before commencing the move.
*necessary PPE should be in accordance with the latest guidelines issued by Public Health England, The Government’s guidance and advice and from the Health & Safety Executive. If that PPE is unavailable, then it is our belief that the move should not be operated.
There will of course be many more questions asked, and answers needing to be given over the next few weeks, but it is imperative that we adhere to that very explicit instruction from the Government, and we strongly encourage everyone to comply with those instructions, and the subsequent recommendation made by the BAR to continue to suspend all operational activity, and to keep safe and well. Over the coming weeks the BAR will provide its Members with a guidance document on practical solutions to fulfilling removal contracts once the current restrictions have been lifted, and will do so once those guidelines have passed scrutiny by government or public health officials.
A recent Webinar hosted by Rightmove and presented by Daryl McIntosh of ARLA Scotland clarified the ‘obey the guidance but if you have to move, move’ approach to moving home under the restrictions.
The Governments recognise some moves have to be carried out. Each relies on the individual circumstances of those involved. Emergency move ins include anyone facing homelessness or key workers within an area and those tenants already in the moving cycle.
There is no definitive list of who qualifies and who does not. Examples given are those coming from abroad needing a UK home, NHS workers moving into an area to work and properties requiring work to make them habitable, such as insurance work needing to be done.
A key problem is then getting a removal company to carry out their work.
A quick email poll of 11 local removers got answers from five businesses. Three will not work during the lockdown period, one will but charge more and another will work as normal. One of the main carries who are not working have self-storage facilities that are available and will accept deliveries to their yards.
From our end moving tenants in has a few challenges, however these can be worked with. Leases can be signed digitally in Scotland and previous inventories can be reused. We email a full explanation to our tenants so they fully understand the need for such and they acknowledge agreement by email. Clearly there is a period of time for any changes to be raised if the inventory is different as per any move in.
We are all facing adversity in this CV19 Crisis but it will soon all be over. Stay safe and well.
Tim Williamson is a principal partner in Key-Lets with over 35 years of experience in the property market both as a landlord and letting agent. Key-Lets are a fiercely independent letting agency specialising in quality stand alone and portfolio properties for corporate and working tenants in Scotland.
Call Tim on 01292 289289 or Email: [email protected]
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