THE Scottish Government has published detailed guidance on moving homes during the coronavirus pandemic.

During her announcement of Phase 2 on June 18, the First Minister revealed that restrictions on the housing market will be relaxed from June 29 – this coming Monday. 

That announcement, according to ESPC, sparked a rise in demand for property in Scotland – with viewing requests, home report and schedule downloads at the highest level they’ve been since pre-lockdown. 

Here, we’ve collated some of the key guidance from the Scottish Government ahead of the changes on Monday – in a bid to make moving home as smooth as possible during the lockdown.

What do I need to know?

From June 29, all home moves are permitted, provided they can be carried out safely.

This includes students moving home and other home moves resulting in two households merging. 

It also applies to custom and self-builders looking to acquire a plot or a property to renovate or to demolish.  

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Under what circumstances can I leave my home?

While in normal circumstances, under current guidance you are only allowed to travel more than five miles to visit family or friends. 

But these rules do not come in to force when done in connection with the purchase, sale, letting or rental of a residential property.

The activities allowed under those rules are:

  • Viewing estate or letting agents, developer sales offices or show homes
  • Viewing a residential property to look for a property to buy or rent
  • Preparing a residential property to move in
  • Moving home
  • Visiting a residential property to undertake any activities required for the rental or sale of that property. 

Also, under the guidance published on Tuesday, people working for relevant organisations and businesses in the housing sector can also travel to work where necessary to undertake these activities in a safe manner. 

What changes will remain?

The Scottish Government has said that the process will “not be a return to normality”, and instead said it “will have to adapt practices and procedures to ensure the risk of the spread of COVID-19 is reduced as far as possible”.

This includes more of the process going online – for example virtual viewing and valuations where possible.

The following measures should be followed: 

  • Initial viewings should be done virtually wherever this is possible and property agents (estate agents) and landlords should help you to do this.
  • All physical viewings should be arranged by appointment only and open house viewings should not take place.  You should not view any properties if you have COVID-19 symptoms or are self-isolating.
  • When physically viewing properties, where possible, you should avoid touching surfaces, wash your hands with soap and water before entering the property or use alcohol-based hand rub (hand sanitiser).
  • The number of people attending a viewing at one time should be restricted so that physical distancing can be practised.  You should only be accompanied to viewings with members of your current household and/or your property agent, social landlord or private landlord or representative. If you need to be accompanied by young children, you should try to stop them touching surfaces and ensure they wash their hands regularly.
  • If people are being shown around or working in your current home, while you are still living there, you should open all internal doors and ensure surfaces, such as door handles, are cleaned before and after each viewing with standard household cleaning products.
  • Where possible, we recommend that you vacate your property whilst viewings are taking place, unless you are conducting the viewing.  This is in order to minimise your contact with those not in your household.
  • When moving between properties, you and those in your household should try to do as much of the packing yourself as you can.  Where this is not possible, you should speak to removal firms in advance. There is further advice about this below.
  • If you are particularly worried about the risk of infection, then speak to the professionals involved, your landlord, letting agent, property agent or removers as they may be able to put in place extra measures.
  • When in contact with other people from outside your household, you are recommended to wear a face covering.

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What else should I know?

The Scottish Government advice says that surveyors should not enter a property where a member of the household is showing symptoms of COVID-19 or self-isolating. 

When moving your belongings, it is worth remembering that removal firms are able to operate – however you may wish to make your own arrangements to move belongings. 

The guidance also encourages everyone to be as flexible as possible during this period and be prepared to delay moves – for example if someone has to self-isolate or falls ill during the moving process. 

Full details can be found on the Scottish Government website here.​