Covid-19 cross-industry guide to supporting a safe home-moving process released

A Covid-19 cross-industry guide to re-opening the housing market, enabling people to move safely will published today (13 May).

The collaborative industry guide sets out in detail how home moves can take place while still fully complying with social distancing measures and Public Health guidance.

“Re-Opening the Home Moving Market Safely” delivers practical advice for all involved in the home moving process and focuses on physical contact points and times when professionals would need to enter private residential properties.

The guide was developed collaboratively by the residential sector and professional organisations’ representatives. Specifically, it is relevant to  property agents,  mortgage advisers, property managers, property lawyers/conveyancers, surveyors, energy assessors, home removal, and also associated professionals such as those contractors involved in property development, management, and the home moving processes in the UK.

The guidance approved by CoPSO is the first in a series and will be followed by consumer guidance and further sector specific guidance. The contents have been shared with Government, industry regulators and Public Health authorities. As the situation is constantly evolving, information to be updated regularly and sector specific guidance will be continuously added.

Recommendations include those for individual behaviour, client engagement and transparency, how ID checks can take place, and only allowing office attendance from clients by personal appointment. Consideration must also be given to video viewing and checking the COVID-19 status of occupants. It also states that ideally one professional and two adults maximum can take part in a physical viewing, and that these should take place outside of commute times. Terms of engagement/client letters must be amended to confirm restrictions or information on the physical inspection/visit.

The guidance will also help industry professionals and firms advise clients and/ or occupiers on how to prepare for a viewing/inspection/ visit. In accordance with public health guidance, it advises high risk category clients and occupiers, not to be present at viewings wherever possible. There will be a  separate document published later aimed at consumers wishing to buy and sell property.

James Sherwood-Rogers, CoPSO Chairman, said:

“This industry guidance builds on that already provided by Government and will be supplemented by specific guidance for consumers who are buying and selling homes. CoPSO will also be issuing sector specific guidance for search companies. Fundamental to all the guidance that is being issued is the controlled and secure operation of the property market ensuring the safety of those involved. With that in mind we are grateful to the councils who have minimised contact by providing electronic access to data and we encourage them, and the last 20 or so who are not doing that, to continue to do so until the threat of coronavirus has subsided.”

Consumer quote – Kate Faulkner, Chair of the Home Buying & Selling Group:

“The re-opening of the property market is incredibly important for those currently stuck in properties which are no longer suitable for them. However, both property professionals and consumers need to make sure they adhere to these new guidelines so everyone can move safely. The property sector has worked incredibly hard to ensure these guidelines allow buying, selling and renting a home to be done safely, which is of paramount importance.   Consumers will need to be patient while the industry gears up to move them.”


Kindly shared by Council of Property Search Organisations (CoPSO)