Coronavirus: House moves and viewings to resume in England

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A sold sign outside a houseImage source, Getty Images

House moves and viewings will be able to resume again in England from Wednesday, under new UK government coronavirus rules.

The changes were contained in the updated lockdown regulations presented to Parliament on Tuesday.

Buyers and renters had previously been urged to delay moving while the "stay at home" advice was in place.

Lockdown measures are being eased across England from Wednesday after more than seven weeks of restrictions.

It comes as a further 627 people died in the UK after testing positive for coronavirus, taking the total number of deaths recorded to 32,692.

Meanwhile, the UK scheme to pay the wages of workers on leave because of the pandemic will be extended to October.

Under the new lockdown regulations tabled by the government, moving home will be allowed again, as will visiting estate agents and letting agents.

Potential buyers and renters will also be allowed to visit show homes and view houses on the market to let or buy.

Anyone who has already bought a new home will be able to visit it to prepare it for moving in.

Property website Zoopla had previously estimated around that some 373,000 property sales had been put on hold during lockdown - with a total value of £82bn.

Media caption,

Coronavirus: Moving house during a pandemic

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said those "waiting patiently to move can now do so" as long as it is carried out under social distancing and safety rules.

Mr Jenrick said the government's "step-by-step plan" will enable people "to move home safely, covering each aspect of the sales and letting process, from viewings to removals".

Meanwhile, the property markets in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland remain shut.

Home viewings are not permitted under lockdown regulations, and their land registries are either running a reduced service or are not registering transactions.

The updated regulations, presented to Parliament by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, also allow people in England to leave their homes to collect goods ordered from businesses and travel to waste or recycling centres.

It is part of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's "conditional plan" - which he outlined on Sunday - to reopen society, including encouraging people to return to work if they could not work from home.

The regulations say people will be permitted to visit a "public open space for the purposes of open-air recreation to promote their physical or mental health or emotional wellbeing". This means that people can simply visit or spend time in an outdoor place without having to exercise.

As the government has indicated, people can go outdoors with other members of their household, alone or with one other person from a different household.

The regulations list definitions of "public open space" which include open country, access land, public gardens and recreation areas.

Garden centres and outdoor sports courts may now open under the new regulations, but playgrounds cannot.