Moving house during coronavirus lockdown
can renters still move house while stay-at-home measures are in place if their tenancy expires?
Housing Secretary clarifies guidance for renters.
Despite the near-wholesale suspension of almost everything we consider to be normal life while coronavirus sends the world into lockdown, tenancy agreements continue to expire regardless.
So, what do you do if you were due to move out of your rental property during the lockdown? How is it possible to move home and yet stay within government guidelines? And how do you go about finding a new place to live?
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has now released official guidance for renters while the stay-at-home measures, announced on Monday, are in place.
The Government has advised anyone buying or selling a property to put their transaction on hold homes are explicitly not among the essentials for which we are still permitted to shop.
However, since renters do not own their current home and so cannot control whether or not they have to move out, some are unclear how the restrictions apply to them.
New guidelines from the Ministry for Housing, Community and Local Government state: Home buyers and renters should, where possible, delay moving to a new house while measures are in place to fight coronavirus (COVID-19).
The guidance stresses this is particularly important in cases where the property that people intend to move into is currently occupied.
Mr Jenrick advises: If moving is unavoidable because you’re contracted and the parties aren’t able to agree a delay, you must follow advice on social distancing when moving.
David Cox, chief executive at ARLA Propertymark, the letting agents industry regulatory body, says house moves should be put on hold for now to adhere to government guidance that people should stay home.
He said: We are asking tenants to stay put for the duration of this period, continue paying rent, and to seek government assistance if theyre struggling with their rent costs.
Housing charity Shelter says tenants should negotiate with both their old and new landlords over their start and end dates. The current tenancy would then usually continue as a periodic tenancy rolling on a monthly basis rather than a fixed-term contract.