Industry issues guidance to help kickstart the housing market

A cross-industry guide to support government plans to re-open the housing market, enabling people to move home safely, has been published today.

The collaborative industry guide, backed by MHCLG, sets out in detail how home moves can take place while still complying with social distancing measures and Public Health guidance.

Re-Opening the Home Moving Market Safely delivers practical advice for all involved in the home-moving process and focuses on physical contact points and the times when professionals would need to enter private residential properties.

The guidance, approved by the Law Society of England and Wales, is the first in a series to support kickstarting the housing market. It will be followed by consumer guidance, further sector-specific guidance and guidance for conveyancing solicitors. The contents have been shared with government, industry regulators and Public Health authorities. As the situation is constantly evolving information will be updated regularly.

Simon Davis, president of the Law Society, said:

“We welcome the announcement by government to re-open the housing market so that buyers and sellers can engage once again within the perimeters of social distancing guidelines.

“Solicitors are ready to help the many whose house moves have stalled - so long as, crucially, it can be done in a way that complies with public health requirements. The industry-wide guidance and subsequent guidance for solicitors will help them to get the market back on its feet safely, securely and as expediently as is possible.”

There are recommendations in the guidance on individual behaviour, client engagement and transparency; how ID checks can take place; and the need only to allow office attendance from clients by personal appointment. It also states that one professional and two adults maximum can take part in a physical viewing, and that these should take place outside of commute times. Consideration must also be given to video viewing and checking the COVID-19 status of occupants. Terms of engagement/client letters must be amended to confirm restrictions or information on the physical inspection/visit.

Kate Faulkner, chair of the Home Buying and Selling Group, said:

“The reopening of the property market will give a great boost to the UK economy and will help improve confidence. But it is vital that nothing happens which infringes public health guidelines. That is why the property sector has collaborated to produce practical guidance as the safety of all involved in home buying and selling remains paramount.”

Notes to editors

The guide was developed collaboratively by the residential sector and professional organisations’ representatives. Specifically, it is to property agents, lenders, mortgage advisers, property managers, property lawyers/conveyancers, surveyors, energy assessors, home removal, and also associated professionals such as those contractors involved in property development, management, and the home moving processes in the UK.

The industry-wide group comprised of representatives from The Law Society of England and Wales, ARLA, BAR, Bold Legal Group, Conveyancing Association, CLC, CoPSO, NAEA, PEPA, RICS, RPSA, SLC, ACSO, HBF, HMLR, RPSA, UK Finance, MHCLG and companies involved in the home moving process.

Read the guidance

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Press office contact: Liam McCafferty | 0208 049 4028

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