COVID-19 – the housing market gets moving again

Since lockdown restrictions were implemented in March, more than 450,000 people have been unable to progress their plans to move house. The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government has set out a plan to re-start the housing market so that all buyers and renters will now be able to complete purchases and view properties in person, while estate agents, conveyancers and removal firms can return to work while following social distancing guidelines.

The plan is summarised as follows:

Estate agents’ offices can open; viewings are permitted; show homes can open; removal companies and the other essential parts of the sales and letting process are re-started with immediate effect. 

New guidance to allow extended working hours on construction sites and to make the planning system operate again remotely

A ‘Charter for safe working practice’ launched by the Government and the Home Builders Federation, enabling home builders to return to work safely.

To help unlock the housing market, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government has announced a series of measures to get the country building homes for the future, including:

  • Allowing builders to agree more flexible construction site working hours with their local council, such as staggering builders’ arrival times, easing pressure on public transport.
  • Enabling local councils and developers to publicise planning applications through social media instead of having to rely on posters and leaflets, helping to unblock the service. 
  • Support for smaller developers by allowing them to defer payments to local councils, helping those struggling with their cash flow, while ensuring communities still receive funding towards local infrastructure in the longer term.

[CONTENT CORRECT AS AT 13 MAY 2020]

If you would like to discuss any of the issues raised in this article or have other concerns about the impact of Coronavirus, please contact Partner Louise Peters or Solicitor Ellie Wonnacott in Michelmores' Residential Conveyancing team.

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This article is for information purposes only and is not a substitute for legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Please contact our specialist lawyers to discuss any issues you are facing.