Government Calls for Delay in Home Moving

The government has urged home buyers and renters to hold off on making their moves while emergency measures are in place to combat the coronavirus outbreak.

Earlier this week, the prime minister advised people not to leave their homes unless absolutely necessary.

It has prompted questions over whether property purchases are essential and whether moving should continue.

‘Delay moving’

A government spokesperson has now said: “Home buyers and renters should, as far as possible, delay moving to a new house while emergency measures are in place to fight coronavirus.

“If moving is unavoidable for contractual reasons and the parties are unable to reach an agreement to delay, people must follow advice on social distancing to minimise the spread of the virus.

“Anyone with symptoms, self-isolating or shielding from the virus, should follow medical advice and not move house for the time being.”

The government said the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government will soon release more detailed guidance on this advice.

Removal firms

The Law Society has advised that home purchase completions that are due “within the next few days” and all parties are able to proceed, there is nothing to prevent them going ahead.

However, the society acknowledged that proceeding might prove difficult “given the position with removal firms”. Current guidance from the British Association of Removers advises that removal firms should only complete any moves that are currently underway and immediately cancel or postpone any moves that have not begun yet.

The Law Society added that home moves are currently subject to the following guidelines:

  • None of the properties should be occupied by any cases or suspected cases of coronavirus
  • No occupants should be self-isolating
  • All parties should adhere to social distancing guidelines

Reduced mortgage lending

The government’s call for home moving delays comes as a range of mortgage providers have reduced their lending as a result of the pandemic.

Barclays, for example, has withdrawn over 60 mortgage products, while specialist lenders Vida Homeloans, Together and West Brom Building Society have completely stopped new applications. Santander, NatWest and Halifax have also suspended physical home valuations.

In a note to brokers, Barclays said: “We are withdrawing all portfolio landlord products and regret that we are no longer accepting these applications at the present time.

“We expect to launch a fresh range of products shortly and we apologise for any inconvenience this causes in the interim.”


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