Government To Suspend Home Moves

The government is set to suspend all future home moves in a bid to halt the spread of Covid-19.

Yesterday morning, Michael Gove suggested that key property stakeholders could continue completing home moves and transactions because the government had, as of the time, not realised guidance to the contrary.

However, a senior civil servant at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has decreed that all future home moves that are not currently underway should not go ahead.

The updated guidance/declarative order could scupper housing transactions set to exchange in the coming days and weeks.

The note issued to Propertymark yesterday also stated that all estate agents are not considered ‘essential business’ and should be working from home and closing all branches in order to comply with government requests.

All in-person property viewings have been suspended and the government are set to consider whether property maintenance tasks should also be halted in the weeks ahead.

A Propertymark statement read:

“Propertymark has spoken to a senior civil servant at Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Goverment (MHCLG) this morning.

“The civil servant stated that agents are not ‘essential businesses’ under the new rules and therefore their view is that agents should close their offices immediately.

“Furthermore, they stated that there should not be any in-person viewings, routine inspections or house moves.

“MHCLG is still looking into property maintenance tasks such as gas safety checks and hopes to issue guidance on these points as soon as possible.

“In a further development, British Association of Removers (BAR) has issued communications this morning instructing members that moves should only be completed if they are already underway, any move that has not yet started, should not go ahead.

“Propertymark will keep members up to date later today and as any further information becomes available.”

Pickfords are the latest removal company to suspend all future home moves they had booked in. Their statement, issued today, insistend that the company will try to honour all moves currently taking place with all future bookings effectively cancelled until the government ease their position on social distancing.

The Pickfords update said:

“In line with Government guidelines Pickfords must advise that with immediate effect all operations UK & Mainland Europe operations have been suspended until further notice.

“It is our intention to provide a skeleton customer response team during the next three weeks until the next Government review and we will of course be monitoring the situation closely.

“Any moves already in progress will continue to be operated wherever possible in the safest manner for our employees and customers, observing our Corvid-19 operational practices. For these moves in progress we will contact our customers to let them know if services can be provided and finalised this week . We will not be accepting any future move bookings during this three week period.

“We will re-contact our customers after the ban has been lifted with a view to rebooking the operational aspects of their move.
Contact details are available on our website for emergency issues and these contact points will provide continued support to our customers for the period of the ban.

“As always, our highest priority is the safety of our staff and customers during these difficult times. We will monitor the situation closely and update our customers as soon as we have more information.”

What will a suspension on home moves mean for the property sector?

4 Comments

  • test

    “Home moves that are not currently underway.” What exactly does that mean? It conflicts with advice I was given yesterday, which I accept may change today.

    • test

      I presume they’re referring to moves where the house has been packed up one day, to be delivered to the new house another day.

      • test

        I would agree with you on the 25th. If your boxes were on the lorry when Boris said “stay at home” then move as planned then stay at home in your new home . But today which is the 27th all moves should be postponed until after the lock-down then re-arranged for the earliest practical date. Unfortunately those people that have exchanged would probably find themselves in breach of contract, allowances will need to be made and hopefully common sense will prevail.

  • test

    I agree Rob – that is exactly the point we require clarity on. “Currently underway” could mean anything from this current day/moment in time ie the boxes are being put on the van as we speak or exchanged contracts and a completion date set. We need some help here please.

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