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  • Can I move during local lockdown? Read latest advice

Can I still view, buy, sell and move house during a local lockdown?

Coronavirus rates are rising and local lockdowns are on the increase with millions now living under local restrictions. What does this mean for your house sale, purchase or move? Here's what you need to know.

Post updated: October 19th, 2020

move house during local lockdown

The Prime Minister this week introduced a new three-tier system for England to help control the spread of coronavirus. Regions are now classified as either ‘medium’, ‘high’ or ‘very high’ with each tier having different lockdown rules. Different rules are in place for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales to limit the spread.

So, if you can’t freely go to a pub, can you still buy, sell or move house as normal?

Yes, you can move house during local lockdowns

The government advice is clear on this. Even where tier 3 (very high) local restrictions apply, people can move home. Estate and letting agents as well as removals firms can continue to work and people looking to move home can continue to undertake viewings.

Can I list my home for sale during a local lockdown?

Yes. When it comes to appointing your estate agent, give them a call to speak to them. Many are only opening their office doors for people that have booked an appointment.

You can market your home and estate agents can visit in order to take photos/videos of your property.

Find and Compare Local Estate Agents

This form will take you to www.estateagent4me.co.uk for the results

What changes apply when moving home during coronavirus?

Whether you’re in an area under local lockdown restrictions or not, you can expect the following to apply as part of the “new normal” for moving home at the moment:

1. More is being done online

The process of searching for and moving into a new home is different because property agents, conveyancers and other professionals have modified how they work to reduce the risk from COVID-19.

These changes include doing more online, such as offering virtual viewings. While these are a good initial filter of a property you want to buy, you will want to visit it in person before parting with your hard earned cash.

2. Viewings rules

With physical viewings, the government advise:

  • there should be no more than 2 households inside the property at any one time. This includes any agent accompanying either party. Anyone in a support bubble with either household, however, will count as part of that household.
  • Viewings in person need to be arranged by appointment only. When viewing in person, you should maintain a 2 meter distance where possible and avoid touching surfaces.
  • Homeowners should keep internal doors open and clean surfaces and door handles with standard household cleaning products afterwards.
  • Government advises estate agents and potential buyers/tenants on viewings to wear face masks.

3. Expect delays and be flexible

If someone in your chain has symptoms of COVID you could have to wait while they self isolate which could add delays to your home move.

Your conveyancer will be able to make sure that any contracts or agreements are as flexible as possible to accommodate this risk.

In particular, you will want to protect yourself against the likelihood of a sudden change in circumstances which could undermine your sale and/or purchase, and expose you to unexpected costs.

A “Covid Clause” within the contract offers parties the ability to exchange contracts while ensuring you are not at fault and in breach of contract, with all of the associated costs, if you are unable to complete because of a coronavirus related issue. Speak to a conveyancing solicitor for advice.

The 3 most important ways to minimise delays are:

Instructing a conveyancing solicitor as soon as you list your home or as your offer is accepted. You can compare quotes now from conveyancing solicitors and speak to them about the process and costs so you’re ready to instruct them.

Getting your paperwork in order. If it’s a leasehold, find the lease. Locate certificates showing compliance with regulations of any works done from planning permissions to FENSA certificates for window replacements. Don’t forget valid guarantees a home buyer will want to see. See what documents you’ll need.

Sorting your mortgage. Many lenders and brokers are experiencing COVID related delays and mortgage choices have significantly reduced, especially for first time buyers. Avoid wasting time later down the line and start the mortgage process now.

4. Packing and moving

The government advise you do as much of the packing yourself. If you are using a removals firm or someone outside your household is helping you, then these additional rules apply:

  • clean your belongings where possible before being handled
  • leave doors open
  • do not provide refreshments
  • use separate towels or paper towels for hand washing where possible

If you need help with your move, find a local removals firm and get removals quotes now.

You may want to speak to a cleaning firm for your home, or the house you are moving into. A deep clean of your onward home once it has been vacated might help put you at ease. To find a cleaner near you, simply type “cleaning services” in the tool below.

How are the rules different in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland?

You can still move home in Wales during its ‘firebreak’ lockdown from Fri 23rd October to 9th November, but only if you cannot delay the moving date until after the 2 week lockdown period is over. During the short lockdown property viewings will not be allowed and estate agents will have to close.

If the Welsh government decide to go back to setting restrictions at a local level, you should be able to move into and out of these areas.  You will be asked if there are viable alternatives to visiting a property in person; and surveyors will be able to visit properties as long as they socially distance.  The Welsh government also suggests that if you cannot leave the property you are moving into empty for 3 days that you ensure that the property is thoroughly cleaned beforehand.

In Northern Ireland, you are allowed to move as long as you follow the guidelines issued in June. Builders, tradespeople and repair people can go into people’s homes to carry out repairs and installations.

In Scotland, all home moves have been allowed since July, as long as they can safely be carried out, and this continues to be the case.


Are you in a local lockdown? How has it impacted on your house move? Tell us in the comments below


Leave a comment (5)* Required

  1. I’m currently trying to complete on a house in a Tier 3 area but insurance want me moved in within 2 weeks but I want to be able to have my parents help me with getting the decorating sorted but under Tier 3 as soon as I start living there they won’t be able to visit to do this.

    I don’t have a clue what to do here and regular insurers like Admiral are really unhelpful.

    These local lockdown rules make no sense considering I’m doing the same thing with the same people but the moment I start stay the night at my new place I’m not allowed to anymore.

    Comment by Iduno — October 22, 2020 @ 11:54 am

  2. Can I move in with my parents whilst my new build is completed? I am in essex they are in Norfolk?

    Comment by Jamie Summers — October 17, 2020 @ 1:31 pm

  3. Good evening
    I am from Greece.
    But iove Scotland and I want to buy a castle with mortgage and create a business.
    I am music teacher and writer
    Thank you

    Comment by Elly Karaleka — October 13, 2020 @ 2:02 pm

  4. “Yes, you can move house during local lockdown
    The government advice is clear on this. Even where local restrictions apply, people can move home.” Does this also apply in Wales please?

    Comment by Peter — October 5, 2020 @ 4:12 pm

  5. You refer to instructing a conveyancing solicitor. A conveyancer is not necessarily a solicitor.

    Some solicitors are having difficulties in maintaining professional insurance cover which might not be the case with other conveyancers

    If a conveyancing solicitor is recommended by an agent, get the latter to supply written proof that due diligence has been applied to establish that your interests will be covered

    Comment by John Harvey — October 4, 2020 @ 10:57 am

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