Over the last few weeks, the UK residential property industry, have been working collaboratively and engaging with the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to develop cross-industry Coronavirus (Covid-19) guidance for professionals in ensuring a safe home moving process, once social distancing measures are eased.

The BAR has been at the heart of that industry collaboration which also includes professional organisations representing estate and letting agents, property lawyers/conveyancers, surveyors, property managers, lenders and associated professionals such as contractors involved in the property development, management and home moving process in the UK. The group has produced high level best practice guides the service providers which cover the generic aspects of all aspects of service delivery, and individually each Association or Organisation has produced (or is producing) its own more detailed ‘sector specific’ methodologies. The guidance offers recommendations for professionals delivering services that require them to come into physical contact with people and/or enter private residential properties and will be supported by consumer guidance on safe home moving to ensure safety, clarity, transparency and a smooth process for all parties involved.

All of this information has been shared with MHCLG and they in turn are to engage with Public Health Guidelines (incorporating Public Health England/Scotland/Wales/Northern Ireland) to ensure its consistency with Government strategies for easing the current lock down measures, and once social distancing has been eased . However, I am informed by my contact at MHCLG that PHE are currently focusing all their attention on other issues of today and so this matter has not yet received their consideration and neither do we yet have any indication of when they will able to issue any revised guidance on the papers produced.

Therefore, the Board of Directors of the BAR believe it is better to issue our guidance notes sooner rather than later but with the proviso that some of the direction of travel may need to change as or when the Government announces its strategies for easing the current restrictions and/or when PHG issue further guidelines for the home moving sector. As such, those guidance notes will be published following the virtual meeting of the Board of Directors on Wednesday of this week. In the meantime, our work with the industry stakeholder group to influence Government policy in re-opening the home moving market, and to provide financial stimuli to support consumer re-engagement, is continuing regardless.

The BAR Team