This guidance contains advice to ensure that moving home in any tenure and supporting activities, such as viewing property, can happen safely during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in Scotland.
It remains vitally important that that home moves, activities in connection with home moves and essential housing services are delivered in a manner that minimises the risk of transmission and looks to keep everyone safe.
This continues to be an evolving situation so please make sure you are following the latest guidance and keep up to date with the latest public health advice. Guidance is reviewed regularly so please check for updates on the Scottish Government website.
From 2 November 2020, a new five level system applies to help tackle the spread of COVID-19. Read more about the protection levels, which can be applied nationally or locally depending on the prevalence of the virus across Scotland.
All home moves are permitted, provided they can be carried out safely. This continues to be the case following the announcement of the measures in the five level system.
People can move home in all protection levels, and to and from areas with different levels. Whilst you can carry out activities in connection with moving home (including viewing a property) or related activities in connection with the essential maintenance, purchase, sale, letting, or rental of residential property you own or are responsible for it may be advisable to postpone, depending on the circumstances. You are strongly advised to postpone in Level 4 areas, where possible.
Property viewings should be done virtually in the first instance and you should only physically view a property which you or the person on whose behalf you are acting is very likely to want to move into.
Related activities in connection with the purchase, sale, letting or rental of a residential property include:
- visiting estate or letting agents, housing association or council offices, developer sales offices or show homes where necessary
- viewing a residential property to look for a property to buy or rent where necessary
- preparing a residential property to move in
- moving home
- visiting a residential property to undertake any activities required for the rental or sale of that property.
Although you can travel for these purposes, the advice remains that you should stay as close to home as possible in order to protect the NHS and save lives.
People working for relevant organisations and businesses can continue to support people to move home in all protection levels, and should follow the Scottish Government’s latest guidance for employers and businesses on COVID-19 in order to undertake these activities in a safe manner. This includes work carried out in people’s homes provided the relevant guidance is followed - see also work in other peoples' homes faq.
In level four areas work is only permitted within a private dwelling if it is essential for the upkeep, maintenance and functioning of the household – see current . Home moves are permitted in level 4 areas and associated activity in support of house moves should continue as part of essential housing services including within people’s homes (where this is unavoidable). People can continue to go into someone else’s homes to support a home move, for example furniture removal, with appropriate safeguards.
Organisations and businesses should continue to look at their functions to see how they can be delivered in a manner that will ensure the risk of transmission is reduced and there is an enhanced compliance with keeping people safe. Organisations and businesses should make every reasonable effort to make working from home the default position as it has been throughout the pandemic. Where a worker can perform their work from home, they should continue to do so. Please see: work from home guidance.
Home moves includes students moving home and other home moves resulting in two or more households merging on a permanent or semi-permanent basis. Once you have formed a new household, you must comply with the guidance on meeting others the relevant protection level when interacting with other households. You cannot be a member of more than one household and repeated moving between homes, causing households to mix beyond extended households, is not permitted without reasonable excuse.
This guidance also applies to custom and self-builders looking to acquire a plot or a property to renovate or to demolish.
To prevent transmission of COVID-19 remember FACTS:
- wear a Face covering
- Avoid crowded places
- Clean hands and surfaces regularly
- stay Two metres away from other people
- Self-isolate and book a test if you have COVID-19 symptoms (new continuous cough, fever or loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste)
- download the Protect Scotland contact tracing app
If you have suspected COVID-19 symptoms (new continuous cough, fever or loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste) self-isolate straight away and arrange a test via www.nhsinform.scot. More information can be found here: Coronavirus (COVID-19): Test and Protect - gov.scot (www.gov.scot).
The process of finding and moving into a new home is different from before COVID-19. Those involved in the process will have to adapt practices and procedures to ensure that the risk of spread of COVID-19 is reduced as far as possible. This will include doing more of the process online, such as initial virtual viewings and ensuring that you continue to follow government advice on physical distancing, hand washing and respiratory hygiene.
We encourage everyone involved to be as flexible as possible over this period and be prepared to delay moves, for example, if someone becomes ill with COVID-19 during the moving process or has to self-isolate. It may also become necessary at some point to move beyond the five levels of protection and pause all home moves for a short period of time to manage the spread of the COVID-19. We will let you know if this has to happen.
You should also consider whether you need to make provisions in contracts to manage these risks. You should not expect to move into any home where people have COVID-19 or are self-isolating.