Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on moving home

Published: 9 Jul 2020
Last updated: 20 Nov 2020 - see all updates

Guidance on housing (sales and rental) in Scotland during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on moving home


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.  

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.

This guidance applies from 2 November 2020.

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 will be introduced providing graduated protections locally and/or nationally.

All home moves are permitted, provided they can be carried out safely. This guidance provides advice on how to do this. 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, but may wish to consider if they can postpone a move and related activities in areas subject to level 4 protections. Relevant businesses can also 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.

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 guidance on meeting others 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.

The guidance also applies to custom and self-builders looking to acquire a plot or a property to renovate or to demolish. 

People can move home and undertake activities in connection with the purchase, sale, letting or rental of a residential property including:

  • visiting estate or letting agents, housing association or council offices, developer sales offices or show homes
  • viewing a residential property to look for a property to buy or rent
  • 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.

People working for relevant organisations and businesses can also travel to work where necessary in order to undertake these activities in a safe manner.

It remains vitally important that we all continue to follow the advice designed to help people stay safe, protect others and save lives appropriate to each protection level.

To prevent transmission of COVID-19:

  • Keep a physical distance of at least 2 metres from other people wherever possible.
  • Wash your hands regularly, for at least 20 seconds, with soap and warm water.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Ensure that any surfaces you, family and workers come into contact with are cleaned and disinfected regularly.

If you have suspected symptoms or COVID-19 has been confirmed, you need to self-isolate and must not be at work.  Follow the guidance on self-isolation on NHS Inform.

People who have been in close contact with someone who has the virus (as confirmed by testing) should self-isolate, even if they don’t have symptoms. This is part of Test and Protect - Scotland’s approach to implementing the Test, Trace, Isolate, Support strategy.

The situation may also change and guidance is reviewed regularly so please check for updates on the Scottish Government website.

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 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.

First published: 9 Jul 2020 Last updated: 20 Nov 2020 -