COVID-19 – Government Issues Updated Advice On Home Moving – What Does It Mean For Developers?

The updated guidance issued by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) means that, from 13th May 2020, anyone in England can move home, provided they follow the updated guidance.

Whilst we have seen some of the urgent house moves complete during the stay at home period, more than 450,000 home moves have been unable to progress during this period.

Moving home is not a luxury for most people, it is a necessity and these people have been caught up in so much uncertainty.

The updated guidance reflects the Government’s aim of:

“enabling people to move home safely and to re-start the housing market in line with social distancing advice”.

The updated guidance highlights the need to wash your hands frequently and stay at least two metres apart from those who are not in your household.

The guidance also states that there could be a possible pause in all home moves for another period, if required, to manage the spread of the virus. The Government will advise if this becomes necessary.

The guidance provides advice for all those involved in the home buying and selling process, including buyers and sellers, estate agents, surveyors, conveyancers, removal firms and trades people.

Updated advice on home moving – what does this mean for developers and new build sales?

Sales of new build homes – site offices and show homes

The Government advice means that developers can open sales offices and show homes during this period. This will be on the basis that:

  • Their sales teams follow the Government’s safer working guidance; and
  • Inform consumers and their own staff about their procedures, so that they are safe throughout the sales process.

Additionally:

  • Where possible, developers should promote virtual viewings.
  • Where physical viewings do take place, including visits to show homes, these should be by appointment with one household visiting one property at a time.
  • Developers should clean surfaces between viewings.

Sales of new build homes – new reservations and agreed sales

For new reservations, contracts and sales already agreed:

  • Developers should work with conveyancers to ensure contracts take account of the risks posed by the coronavirus, including building in flexibility in case move dates need to change as a result of someone falling ill with the coronavirus or needing to self-isolate.
  • Developers should do what they can to support anyone with coronavirus symptoms or are self-isolating, and those they are in chain with, to agree a new date.

New build home warranty assessments

Inspectors can carry out warranty assessments on new build properties which will allow sales of new house sales to proceed.

Inspectors should follow public health guidance on social distancing and guidance for working in other people’s homes.

Construction and planning

The Government and the Home Builders Federation have launched the Safe Working Charter to enable construction sites to reopen and home builders to return to work.

We will also see, in due course, the introduction of extended working hours on construction sites, and to new provisions to enable the remote operation of the planning system.

advice home moving developersHow can Nelsons help?

Mary Gharmount is an Associate at Nelsons specialising in commercial property law and residential property development.

If you require any advice in relation to the topics discussed in this article, please get in touch with Mary or another member of the team in DerbyLeicester or Nottingham on 0800 024 1976 or via our online form.

 

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