Welsh fire-break lockdown restricts housing market

From 6pm on Friday 23 October, Wales entered a three week fire-break lockdown in a bid to tackle the growing cases of the coronavirus pandemic.

This means that until Monday 9 November, the Welsh housing market will be restricted with regards to what can and can’t take place.

All non-essential retail premises are expected to be shut; in the UK-wide spring lockdown this meant most lettings agencies shut, although were at times accessed by staff for essential purposes such as obtaining keys.

The lockdown will not affect a landlord’s obligations in relation to urgent repairs and maintenance, but discretion and common sense should be exercised for non-essential works says the Welsh Government.

What can the Welsh property market do?

The Cardiff administration has revealed that:

  • Moving – people can still move home unless they can delay the date until after 9 November. Associated activities such as removals processes, property preparation, handover of keys, surveys and valuations can also take place in line with guidance on working in other people’s homes
  • Viewings – physical viewings cannot take place as high street agents are required to close. However, virtual viewings can continue
  • Mortgage surveys – mortgage surveys can be conducted and street level surveys can take place. Surveyors can enter occupied properties during the lockdown period if this is managed in a safe way and both thee occupants and surveyor are well, with no coronavirus symptoms. However, if this valuation can be re-arranged to occur after the lockdown has lifted it should. Surveyors can enter vacant premises.

However, it’s not just the home buying and selling process that has been affected. Builders in Wales are seeking clarity on whether they can continue to work in people’s homes during the fire-break lockdown in Wales.

Ifan Glyn, Director of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) Cymru said:

“Builders and their clients have been left in limbo. The originally published Welsh Government Frequently Asked Questions guidance told them that work in people’s homes would need to stop. Without warning, the guidance was yesterday changed. A section in the guidance now tells them that work can continue, yet the very next section contradicts this and tells them that they will need to down tools. Our members want to do the right thing, but to be able to do so, they need an urgent answer from Welsh Government on this fundamental question.”

Today's Conveyancer