Government restrictions in the UK
The main headline changes to social restrictions include permission for outdoor gatherings of either six people (rule of six) or two households; the opening of outdoor sports facilities; and the end of the ‘stay at home’ rule in England, although people will still be encouraged to work from home where possible and minimise the number of journeys they make.
As there will be no change to safety guidance affecting the property sector, it is vital that businesses and individuals continue to comply with the UK Government guidance. This is particularly important because, as more people receive their vaccination, parties to residential viewings are increasingly questioning the need for restrictions, particularly on rules such as wearing masks and social distancing during property viewings.
Although no roadmap has been published, the Welsh Government has outlined a short-term timetable.
On 27 March the ‘stay local’ rules were lifted alongside unrestricted travel within Wales’s borders, with self-contained tourist accommodation - including many hotels and cottages – now able to open. However, travel to and from other UK nations will be banned for at least another two weeks.
Six people from two households can meet up outside and organised outdoor activities and sports can resume, while limited openings of outdoor open areas, such as historical places & gardens, are permitted.
From 12 April Welsh Ministers are expecting to ease more restrictions.
In Scotland four people of up to two households can meet outside, with outdoor non-contact sports and organised group exercise permitted. Communal worship is also now allowed with up to 50 attending (if it is possible to incorporate social distancing).
The next step is for the stay at home rule to become ‘stay local’ on 2 April. On 5 April, more businesses will be able to re-open and all school pupils can go back between the 12 April. Towards the end of the month, from 26 April, there will be a return to the ‘levels’ system of local restrictions, with travel within mainland Scotland permitted. There will also be a wider opening-up of the economy and further loosening of the restrictions on social gathering.
The Northern Ireland Executive will ease restrictions from 1 April, when people can meet for exercise in groups of up to 10 from two households. Golf and other outdoor sporting activities can resume (although clubhouses and sports facilities must stay closed) and up to six people from two households can meet in a private garden. Garden centres will be able to operate click-and-collect services.
From 12 April, remaining school year groups 8-11 return and the stay at home message is expected to be relaxed. All other non-essential retail can operate click-and-collect and sports training with up to 15 people can resume. Up to 10 people from two households will be able to meet in a private garden.
Propertymark guidance on working safely
Propertymark’s guidance overlays UK Government guidelines for the sector and is tailored to help our members.
This guidance is continually reviewed against input from Propertymark regional member representatives, taking account of the latest changes announced by the UK Government as well as those of the devolved nations and we are committed to keeping members updated.
We also continue to work with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to ensure that the property sector has a voice in shaping what agents are allowed to do.
We are supporting the industry with resources so that you can continue your personal professional development and keep working throughout the Coronavirus pandemic.
Our website has guidance and advice on working during the pandemic. This includes the financial support available for landlords, renters and homeowners and best practice when working from home.
With the number of people working from home sharply increasing during the Coronavirus outbreak, we have some best practice tips on home working including advice on eligibility for tax relief.
This document provided members with a summary of announced government schemes brought in to support businesses during the pandemic. It covers all the schemes from across the UK, who is eligible for them and how to apply.
We also have a dedicated page containing guidance on house moves and viewings whilst adhering to the restrictions. This includes tips and guidance on listing properties and viewings, taking into account the rules in different regions of the UK. You can also visit our YouTube channel to watch a video containing top tips for conducting property viewings safely.
We want to help make everyone's property purchase go as smooth as possible. Our guides provide an insight into the whole process whether looking to get on the property ladder, choosing a solicitor or overcoming financial hurdles.