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House Moves and Property Viewings during Covid lockdown

Alex is a private landlord with multiple rental properties. He has a tenant who has given notice and is due to move out in the next 2 weeks but, due to current Covid restrictions, Alex is unsure if the move is allowed to go ahead. He is keen to get the property re-let as soon as possible and is concerned his tenant might ask to stay on longer in the property. Alex contacted our Landlord Advice Line to find out what restrictions there currently are on moving house and his rights as a landlord.

Our adviser explained that current lockdown restrictions do still permit house moves and associated activities such as visiting estate agents, viewing properties and removals to go ahead. However, our adviser cautioned that if a tenant has Covid symptoms or has been advised to self-isolate, the move should be delayed until the necessary isolation period has finished. Landlords are encouraged to be flexible in these circumstances and arrange for the move to take place when safe to do so. Our adviser sign-posted Alex to guidance issued by the Department for Communities to private landlords and tenants on house moves during the Covid-19 pandemic for further information.  

Since Alex was eager to get a new tenant into the property as soon as possible, he asked our adviser how he could go about safely arranging viewings for prospective tenants. Our adviser explained that landlords are being encouraged to conduct virtual viewings/walkthroughs in the first instance and for the number of physical, in person viewings to be limited. Our adviser explained that no group viewings should take place and individual viewings should only take place when a current tenant has given notice that they are able to move. Both landlords and tenants should comply with safety precautions and good practice including wearing face masks, adhering to social distancing, using hand sanitiser and wiping down surfaces in between viewings.

Alex was advised to liaise with his current tenant about arranging viewings at a suitable time, giving at least 24 hours’ notice. Tenants should not unreasonably refuse access for viewings but our adviser told Alex that, if his tenant didn’t give permission for viewings to go ahead, Alex would have to wait until the tenant vacated the property and could not put any pressure on his tenant to facilitate viewings. Following the advice he received, Alex was able to liaise with his current tenant, reassuring her that necessary Covid-safe precautions would be in place, to arrange a limited number of viewings and re-let the property quickly, allowing for a full inspection and thorough cleaning of the property prior to new tenants moving in.