A series of posts giving advice and guidance to private residential landlords during this coronavirus emergency period.
3 What should you do about house (or flat or room) moves?
No doubt people have plans to move. However whatever those plans were – everything has now changed with the coronavirus emergency. If at all possible those plans should be abandoned or delayed until the crisis is over.
The most important thing right now is for everyone to stay in their homes. It is only by everyone remaining put in their homes that we will be able to beat this crisis.
should not be moved.
In these circumstances, other parties should show pragmatism. These things happen.
Tenants – if your landlord is asking you to move, at the present time you should refuse unless you wish to leave. Landlords cannot force you to leave against your will. The government guidance is for you to remain in your property during the lockdown period.
If there is really no alternative to the move
(And provided the parties are not self-isolating or being shielded), then the government have confirmed that the move can go ahead. However, you need to take great care to observe social distancing rules – save among members of the same household.
Remember always that many people will have the virus and be infectious but will show no symptoms. This will put you and others at risk!
The problems and dangers of house moves
It is very difficult to effect house moves, particularly where heavy furniture is being moved around, while maintaining social distancing rules. So unless only those in the same household are involved, there is a chance for the virus to spread.
Also moving furniture and effects will create a lot of dust in the air which could affect people’s vulnerability to the virus – this could be the difference between people experiencing light symptoms and serious or even fatal problems.
Remember that even some young fit and healthy people are dying.
HMOs / Shared Houses
There are particular dangers with HMO properties where people share living accommodation as you will be moving someone into the household who could possibly be infected with the virus and who may, in turn, infect other tenants they come into contact with.
Unless it is possible for the new tenants to self isolate from the other occupiers it would be best to delay in the move. Bear in mind that the virus can remain on surfaces for 3 days or more. Landlords who suffer financial loss as a result of this may be eligble for government support.
In these unusual circumstances, it is probably best for checkout meetings not to take place and for landlords and agents to do or arrange for checkout inspections after the tenants have vacated.
If tenants are worried about this, they could take photographs or video evidence of the condition of the property at departure.
After tenants have moved out
Ideally, the property should be left empty for a while, ideally several days or a week, before any new tenants move in, to allow time for any virus on surfaces to die off. Remember the virus can remain active for some time on surfaces.
The property should then be properly cleaned. You will find guidance here.
If you are worried about any aspect of this, seek advice from Public Health England.
The advice is to avoid house moves wherever possible. This is partly why the government has stopped all evictions from taking place.
But if they are unavoidable (and the parties are not being shielded or self-isolating), then you should observe the social distancing rules and effect the move in a way which is least likely to put people at risk.