September 2020 Removals & Storage 27
R&S: What are the key issues for
Kate Faulkner: There are several areas of
the home moving market that need addressing.
These include reforming the leasehold system,
introducing a standardised and legally binding
reservation agreement between buyers and sellers,
and improving cross-industry and consumer
education on moving home so that different sectors
of the property market can understand each other
better and pass consumers seamlessly from one step
of the process to another. We are also working to
collate clearer upfront information when a property
is marketed to reduce duplicated and conflicting
information and therefore the time it takes to move.
This is key to helping new technologies such as
property logbooks, which homeowners and home
movers can use to track essential information about
their property. Other initiatives in the pipeline
include improved identity checks and simultaneous
payments on moving day.
R&S: How do these issues impact
the removals sector?
KF: In two ways. Firstly, if we can provide a more
assured moving timeframe this will give more
stability to everyone involved in the home moving
process, and particularly those at the end of the move
by reducing the likelihood of last-minute hiccups.
Secondly, I don’t think the issues that the removals
industry suffers from have always been considered
across the home moving chain. I am delighted to
say that with the input of the BAR and removals
companies this has changed, and that anything we
do on the HBSG now includes the views and concerns
of those who are moving people from A to B.
R&S: How did the HBSG approach
KF: During Covid-19 we worked across the different
sectors of the home moving market, including
the removals industry, to produce cross-industry
safe working guidance that was in line with
government advice. This guidance provides a range
of recommendations, including on how to safely visit
consumers in their homes, as well a checklist for
moving day. These consumer guides were released on
the day the market re-opened, along with government
and industry-specific guidance, and both the industry-
and consumer-focussed guidance documents are
being updated as and when necessary. The HBSG also
called for a more flexible furlough scheme, which has
now materialised, and we are currently working on
securing more support for first-time buyers.
R&S: Will these initiatives be robust
enough for a possible second wave
of Covid-19 and local clusters?
KF: I’m confident that they will. The guidance is
aimed at minimising the spread of Covid-19 while
also remaining practical to help people renting
or buying and selling. Although the opening of
the property market has been staggered across the
country, so far moving home has continued at a local
level despite isolated lockdowns in individual cities.
It would be very difficult to lock down the home
moving and construction industry at a local level.
R&S: What are the HBSG’s milestones
since its formation in 2017?
KF: The group’s first major achievement was getting
everyone together, which took a lot of time! Currently
the group comprises more than 150 participants
from different sectors across the property industry,
ranging from large corporates to one-man bands,
consultants and the professional trade, as well as
regulatory and consumer redress bodies. We now
have established working groups, and we’ll hopefully
see their work on all the initiatives and issues I
mentioned previously come to fruition over the
from when a sale is agreed to completion rather than
the 19-20 weeks we see in the rest of the country. We
are working with the Law Society, the Royal Institution
of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Conveyancers
Association to agree a memorandum of understanding
that all parties will agree to abide by in terms of time
scales. Technology should help all parties and since
Covid-19 more businesses are relying on tech.
Post-Covid-19, people who move may well be more
disposed to changing their outlook on what days of the
week to move. Although traditionally people like to move
on a Friday so they can be up and running to go back
to work on a Monday, the removals sector would benefit
greatly if they could do moves six or seven days of the week.
We would be concerned if there were any significant
reductions to the current 90-95% loan-to-value (LTV)
percentages which have allowed first time buyers (FTBs)
into the market. FTBs are in effect the seed corn for the
property market – at the bottom of most chains is an
There is worrying anecdotal evidence that while
current LTV percentages are in place, underwriters are
looking at other criteria such as whether mortgage
applicants have taken a mortgage holiday, were
furloughed or which sector they work in, as part of their
decision-making on whether or not to lend. If there
are too many buffers, this could dampen the market
considerably, with FTBs likely to be most affected.
The property market is ruled by its heart and not its
head. Sentiment is therefore incredibly important.
If people feel uncertain, the easiest decision to make is
For more information, visit
Streamlining the home moving process
Kate Faulkner, a leading property expert, chairs the Home Buying and Selling Group
(HBSG). She explains what the HBSG is doing to streamline the home moving
process and the group’s recent achievements in response to Covid-19.
“I don’t think the issues
that the removals industry
suffers from have always
been considered across
the home moving chain.
I am delighted to say that
with the input of the BAR
and removals companies
this has changed, and that
anything we do on the HBSG
now includes the views and
concerns of those who are
moving people from A to B.”
The Home Buying and Selling Group is looking for case studies on how the industry
has pulled together to help consumers during the Covid-19 crisis, as well as ideas
for improving steps in the home moving process that regularly go wrong. Please
email your thoughts or queries to HBSGadmin@rics.org.
For more information, visit www.homebuyingandsellinggroup.co.uk.