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How are lenders, brokers, agents, legal companies, surveyors and removal companies protecting consumers during Coronavirus?

  1. 26 March 2020
  2. By Daisy Stephens

The property industry is doing everything it can to abide by government guidelines whilst trying to make sure those that absolutely need to move are still getting a great service.

Written for reallymoving by property expert Kate Faulkner.

The first thing the different moving services have had to do, where possible, is have their staff work from home. Many lenders, brokers and legal companies have managed to do this within just a week. Face to face meetings have stopped and moving home paperwork and negotiations are now done via the internet, email, post and over the phone.  

Agents offices are closed during the lockdown, but many are working from home. For surveyors, many of them were already home based.

Non-urgent surveys should not be completed during lockdown. If a survey is urgent, and the surveyor is not displaying any symptoms, the survey can take place provided the following rules are followed:
  1. Check no-one in the household is displaying symptoms or is in self-isolation;
  2. Ask the owner to either not be present or to be in a different room to avoid contact;
  3. Wipe down anything that is touched during the visit, e.g. door handles;
  4. Wear gloves and masks in some cases;
  5. Wash or sanitise hands before and after a visit.
You can read more about what the restrictions are on the government website.

Removals companies are adopting similar regimes. If you absolutely need to move, you can help them out further by minimising contact, for example by doing your own packing. Bear in mind that some removals firms have shut completely during the lockdown.

When we are able to move again, it could be worth agreeing a professional deep clean between moves via your legal company. The government has given some guidelines on cleaning properties.

What will happen now that we're in lockdown?

The vast majority of moves will not be able to take place until the restrictions have been lifted. The exceptions are:
  • Your move is essential, for example you face homelessness if your move does not go ahead, or you're moving to care for someone else
  • You have already exchanged contracts and it has proved impossible to agree an alternative move date 
Based on information from other countries, the market pretty much comes to a stand-still. However, some brighter news comes from Lucian Cook, Director, Residential Research at Savills, who believes that the economic stimulus from the government, cuts in bank base rate and the fact that bricks and mortar are always seen as a steady investment during times of uncertainty, should help to underpin values, so much so that they haven’t yet adjusted their property price forecasts for 2020.
  Please note: This information regarding the moving industry and Covid-19 was accurate at the time of publication (25.03.20 at 16:00 hrs). Government recommended action is changing constantly, and we will endeavour to keep these articles up to date, but please continue to check the government site for updates on home moving during lockdown.

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