England’s property market partly reopened this month, allowing buyers and sellers to move house and put their homes on the market – which had previously been put on hold during the coronavirus lockdown. But the advice for renters hasn’t been as clear, so Express.co.uk has spoken to property experts to find out if renters are allowed to move house and what rights they have during this period.
Demand for rental properties is up 33 percent compares to this time last year, as the market reopens, according to Rightmove.
The estate agents also said May 18, the day after the Prime Minister announced the changes to the UK lockdown, marked the highest level of rental demand ever recorded in one day.
Rightmove said their availability of homes to rent is also now up 13 percent since before lockdown.
Chris Huntingford, partner and licensed conveyancer at East Midlands-based law firm Nelsons, told Express.co.uk that the new housing regulations mean both renters and homeowners are now allowed to move.
This includes moving into a vacant property and shared accommodation.
But he said those planning on moving must adhere to social distancing measures where possible.
He said: “On 13 May 2020, the Government passed a new law lifting the restrictions that had previously been in place around home-moving.
“The new regulations mean that both renters and homeowners can now move home, provided that they take the appropriate social distancing precautions.
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“The changes also mean that businesses linked to the home-moving process, such as estate/lettings agents, conveyancers and removal companies, can also begin trading again and assisting the public with their home moves.”
Asaf Navot, founder of London lettings agent Home Made, agreed and said the new rules permitted renters to move house.
He told this website: “Renters can now move into new properties without fear of breaking lockdown rules.”
He said that while it is allowed to move into a room in a rented property, he advised checking to see if existing tenants are displaying coronavirus symptoms.
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Mr Navot said: “If moving into properties with tenants, you might want to check in with them to make sure they’re not experiencing any symptoms first and make them aware if you are experiencing any out of courtesy.
“If either of these situations present themselves talk to your landlord about postponing the move.”
Holly Herbert, from We Buy Any House, also provided advise to renters moving into shared accommodation.
She said: “If you’re looking to move into a property where there are already other tenants living, you’ll need to speak to them to ensure they are not shielding due to vulnerability, which could cause problems.
“Providing they are happy for you to continue with your move, you should obey all social distancing during your move, and allow some time to adjust in the household before getting too close.
“If you’re currently experiencing symptoms, you should not move until the end of your isolation period after your symptoms cease, to avoid passing the virus on further.”
If a renter wants to put off moving house until the health crisis has subsided, the housing experts agreed that it was up to the landlord to agree to delay the moving in date.
Mr Navot said: “Legally, the Government says that all tenancy agreements should be as flexible as possible right now to accommodate the situation of home hunters, current tenants and landlords.
“However, tenants don’t have rights enshrined in law unless they become ill with coronavirus during the moving process or have to self-isolate.
“Ultimately this means that if you are choosing to delay your move in date because you’re reluctant to move during lockdown, it’s up to the landlords discretion whether to agree to a change in date or not.
“Anyone worried about this should explain their concerns to their landlord and lay out when they’d be comfortable moving within reason to see if a compromise can be reached that works for both parties.”
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