From midnight lettings agents in England have been able to resume work thanks to an amendment to Coronavirus legislation that was automatically approved at the start of today.
Bizarrely the legislation is the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 which actually prohibits what it regards as non-essential travel.
However, from midnight there have been exemptions that enable members of the public to visit both sales or lettings agencies, developers’ sales offices and show homes; view properties for sale or rent; prepare properties prior to moving in; and move home.
Agents are also allowed to visit any rental property to get them ready for sale, which means appraisals, property valuations and photography.
Prospective buy to let investors will also be able to view prospective investment properties once more as well.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick says more than 450,000 buyers and renters had been unable to progress their plans to move since March.
“Our clear plan will enable people to move home safely, covering each aspect of the sales and letting process from viewings to removals” he adds.
“Our step-by-step plan is based on the latest guidance to ensure the safety and protection of everyone involved. This critical industry can now safely move forward, and those waiting patiently to move can now do so” according to Jenrick.
“It’s great news for consumers and the industry that the housing market is being opened up and people can let, rent, buy and sell properties again” says David Cox, chief executive of ARLA Propertymark.
“Safety of course will be paramount, and we would encourage everyone to ensure that they follow government guidelines closely to protect others and themselves”
And Tom Mundy of lettings PropTech supplier Goodlord says: “It’s a huge relief to know that property viewings and moves will be permitted once more from this week. Some important questions remain, however, about how we ensure the safety of everyone concerned as we get the industry moving again.
“We very much hope the government releases more detailed advice around social distancing and how to protect tenants, prospective tenants, and agents - particularly when it comes to viewings. In the meantime, everyone in the industry must use a common sense approach to make things as safe as possible and to offer digital options for all parties wherever practicable."