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Housing Market Still Closed for Business

Housing Market Still Closed for Business

Hannah McCartan
29th May 2020

Wales on LOCKDOWN for a further 3 weeks is going to divide opinion in the Housing Market – of that, there is no doubt! Renters are desperate to move, sellers are desperate to sell, and landlords are desperate to let. But one thing is certain: our safety is at the forefront of these hard decisions.

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford has this afternoon confirmed that only ONE thing will change for the next 21 days – that people from two different households will be able to meet outdoors from Monday (1st June):

  • Members of two separate households in the same local area will be able to meet outdoors, provided they maintain social distancing and “strict hand-hygiene”.
  • The two households can meet in private outdoor spaces such as gardens.
  • People socialising will need to stay in their local area – within five miles as a “general rule” – and remain two metres apart.

He acknowledged that people may have to pass through someone’s home to reach a private garden, but individuals have been told not to stay inside.

What does this mean for lettings?

There was no specific mention in the update of the housing sector in Wales reopening any time soon, but the Drakeford’s statement offers further clarification that going into anyone’s home (and by extension, rental property) is not permitted.

Section 3.11 of the Guidance for Landlords and Tenants on Coronavirus Act 2020 clearly states that no one should visit a property to conduct viewings, or anything else which is not urgent and health and safety-related.

It has been made clear in the current guidelines that viewings are NOT considered to be essential or urgent, and at no point is travelling to conduct or take part in a viewing permitted.

Enforcement breaches can earn fines now of up to £1,290 – this is a stark reminder of the severity of this disease and the catastrophic consequences that could happen if you decide you know better.

Virtual viewings and video walkthroughs, therefore, will still be at the forefront of operations for most agents and landlords.

The change to the restrictions that allowed for two households to meet outdoors is part of the 21-day review of the lockdown rules in Wales as required by law. The Welsh Government has not set date for when measures in Wales could be lifted, unlike in England. They have asked all non-essential businesses and shops to prepare to open in 3 weeks, though – so watch this space!

In lieu of physical, face-to-face viewings, we’ve been recording video walkthroughs of our available properties, and we’re finding them to be a big hit with prospective tenants! Enquiries are coming in thick and fast! Get in touch today to have a chat with the team about how we’re letting during lockdown.

Sources: BBC / Welsh Government Guidance / Welsh Government Press Release

Related: Landlords in Lockdown: 5 Common Questions Answered / Serving Notice in Lockdown

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