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UK Government rules for viewing houses ensure UK home searches safety during Coronavirus

On 13 May, the UK government issued instructions for home viewings. For anyone looking to relocate to the UK and find a home, this ties in with the government’s guidelines for international moving safety standards and recent news regarding the 14 day self-isolation process for people arriving in the UK from overseas. So, what do you need to know and how does it all work as part of an international relocation?

Finding a home safely during Coronavirus
Finding a home safely during Coronavirus

What are the latest home finding safety guidelines?

The Housing Secretary revealed that, anyone in England can move home, as long as they follow government guidelines. These include new house-viewing protocols.

This includes the utilisation of virtual property viewings to use of PPE equipment, distancing and providing hand-washing facilities. Below are the house viewing protocols you can now expect as part of a home search.

What does this mean for my property move or purchase whilst measures to fight Coronavirus apply?

As of today, the UK government website states that people are free to move home, however the process of finding and moving into a new home is likely to be different, as those involved in the process will need to adapt practices and procedures to ensure that the risk of spread of Coronavirus is reduced as far as possible. It is vital that everyone stays alert and safe.

Gerson Relocation has already adapted its international safety practices for the move and home search agents will also have to comply to the government requirements below:

Prior to visiting a property

  • Initial viewings should be done virtually wherever this is possible and home search agents will help you do so.
  • Desktop viewings and virtual home searches have been in use by the relocation industry for some time. Home video surveys have also been used extensively for household moving services for some time. This enables people looking for a new home to view multiple property types and view neighbourhoods remotely and to reduce the number of properties that need to be visited
  • Physical viewings will be limited to members of the same household and open house viewings should not take place.

This will be discussed with your Relocation Manager and home search agent prior to arrival to ensure that there are sufficient PPE packs available – (COVID-19) personal protective equipment (PPE).

Gerson Relocation Virtual-home-tours
Gerson Relocation Virtual-home-tours

Viewing properties safely

  • When physically viewing properties, where possible, you should avoid touching surfaces, wash your hands regularly, and bring your own hand sanitiser. The number of people on a viewing should be minimised to those from your household that absolutely have to be there. If you need to be accompanied by small children, you should try to keep them from touching surfaces and ensure they wash their hands regularly.
  • If people are being shown around, open all internal doors and ensure surfaces, such as door handles, are cleaned after each viewing with standard household cleaning products.
  • The home search agent and any residents will vacate the property whilst viewings are taking place in order to minimise contact and ensure that distancing can be maintained.
  • Anyone involved in any aspect of the process should practice social distancing in line with public health advice.
  • If you are particularly concerned about the risk of infection, then speak to your home search agent, relocation manager or real estate agent or removers as they may be able to put in place extra measures.
  • Everyone involved in the moving process must follow social distancing to minimise the potential for spreading the virus. PPE equipment will also be required.

Everyone present at the home will be required to wear masks and gloves. PPE kits are to be provided.

The full government guidelines are available here.

What could the new international relocation process look like start to end?

1, A virtual needs assessment with your Relocation Manager to assess your overseas housing and relocation needs.

2, A video pre move survey of the contents of your current property in your home country.

3, Arrangement for short term accommodation in the UK where you will be able to self-isolate.

4, Packing in your home compliant to strict COVID-19 safety guidelines.

5, Check that you are safe to travel and do not have Coronavirus or symptoms.*

6, Arrive in the UK and transfer to your short-term accommodation following strict self-isolation regulations. Working from home in quarantine with your family if required.

7, A desktop home search with a potential suitable housing list.

8, When quarantine is complete, then undertake the home finding process following the strict safety guidelines.

9, Secure the lease and arrange to move into your new home with the delivery of your household goods.

10, Settling-in process and follow local Coronavirus control guidelines.

*Dependent on regulations on travel and controls are different between each country.

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