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UK lockdown: Can you still move house?

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A national lockdown will be rolled out across England after a rapid rise in coronavirus cases. The new measures will come into effect from Thursday, October 5 and will run until Wednesday, December 2. The national lockdown will mean several new rules will come into force, but does this mean you are still allowed to move house?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled plans to launch a month-long lockdown starting on Thursday.

The new measures are being introduced to address the rising rates of COVID-19 across England.

Mr Johnson said: “Now is the time to take action because there is no alternative.

“From Thursday until the start of December, you must stay at home.

“You may only leave home for specific reasons, including: For education; For work, say if you cannot work from home; For exercise and recreation outdoors, with your household or on your own with one person from another household; For medical reasons, appointments and to escape injury or harm; To shop for food and essentials; And to provide care for vulnerable people, or as a volunteer.”

The Prime Minister added that restrictions would not be as limiting as those seen earlier this year.

Mr Johnson added: “We are not going back to the full-scale lockdown of March and April.

“It is less prohibitive and less restrictive. But from Thursday the basic message is the same.

“Stay at home. Protect the NHS. And save lives.”

What are the main lockdown rules?

From Thursday, you are only permitted to leave your home under certain circumstances including:

  • For education
  • For work
  • To shop for essential items such as food
  • For medical reasons such as appointments
  • For exercise and recreational purposes outdoors
  • To provide care for the vulnerable
  • To attend places of worship.

All household mixing is banned from 12.01am both indoors and outdoors.

However, you are permitted to meet one other person outside your household in a public space, but only if you are alone.

Schools, nurseries and universities can remain open and playgrounds can also stay open.

All non-essential businesses including pubs and restaurants will shut and international travel is banned except for work reasons.

The furlough scheme will be extended and no rules related to childcare and support bubbles will change.

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Can you still move house?

Mr Johnson did not specifically address the question of moving house during lockdown.

However, moving house was permitted during the first lockdown earlier this year which means it is likely this will be permitted during this second national lockdown.

Additionally in Wales, people are permitted to move homes under the two-week firebreak lockdown.

The Government’s website earlier this year specifically did not ban moving house.

However, the website read: “You are free to move home.

“However, you may find the process of searching for and moving into a new home is different, as property agents, conveyancers and other professionals have modified how they work to reduce the risk from COVID-19.”

They recommended that viewings be conducted virtually “where possible” and all physical viewings should not involve more than two households crossing paths.

In addition, other measures such as leaving doors open and lights on to avoid contact from other households in one’s home are undertaken.

When asked if people are able to move house during the lockdown, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “Yes – the housing market will remain open throughout this period.

“Everyone should continue to play their part in reducing the spread of the virus by following the current guidance.”

Mr Jenrick also revealed mortgage holidays would no longer end and instead the deadline would be extended.

More information about this will be published by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on Monday.

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