Covid-19: How does it affect your house removal?

March 26 2020, Matt Brownsey

It is safe to say that 2020 has been characterised by uncertainty in all walks of life, not least within the moving industry. Whether you were planning on undertaking a move this year, or you own or work for a removal company, COVID-19 has drastically disrupted plans. To help keep you informed on how COVID-19 has affected the moving industry, we have produced this FAQ blog to help settle concerns.

Note: Circumstances change fast, we cannot guarantee that this article is continually updated. Regularly check the U.K government’s website to get the latest Covid-19 information.

Are removal companies still operating, and if so, can I move house?

This simple answer is yes. While moving house was suspended during national lockdown, rules have since been altered. Since the 13th May 2020, new guidelines have been issued which permit moving house, as long as certain rules and guidelines are followed.

That being said, while it is of course possible to move, if you do not have a rigid moving date, postponing it until there is a little more clarity on the situation is encouraged. Note that removal companies are having to adjust people’s moving dates constantly, and are within their rights to cancel a move in the event that COVID-19 symptoms are displayed, or there is any other perceived threat to health. As the second wave takes hold, circumstances are ever-changing, causing frequent disruption and delays. 

What about if my area is in local lockdown?

Again, the easy answer here is that you can still move, even if your area is in local lockdown. There are no differing rules concerning moving house, regardless of where in the UK you reside. Moving house is exempt from rules prohibiting movement in and out of an area in local lockdown. Therefore, if you are in local lockdown, the national rules outlined on this article also apply to you.  

Is it possible to move abroad?

Moving abroad is slightly more tricky, however it is still possible; removal companies are permitted to undertake international moves. How difficult this will be depends largely on your destination country.

If you are moving abroad to a country that requires you to self-isolate upon arrival, this applies to you and you will be subject to the laws of that country. If you are moving to the UK, you also may have to self-isolate. This depends on whether the country you have moved from is on the government’s travel corridor or not. This section of the government website provides details on which countries are exempt from the 14-day self-isolation period.

We have found some links that can provide more information regarding international moves:

If you are completing an international, or other long distance move, you are permitted to stay overnight away from your main residence. This is on the condition that you stick to current government rules concerning limiting contact with those outside of your household or support bubble.

What if somebody is displaying symptoms of COVID-19?

If anyone in your household, or anyone involved with your move displays any symptoms of COVID-19, no matter how mild, they should immediately self-isolate. Persons who have come in contact with the relevant individual should also begin the self-isolation process.

If your move has already been organised at this point, you should contact your removal company as soon as possible and discuss the necessary steps. If you were intending on moving within the next 14 days from when symptoms are displayed, you will have to cancel or postpone the move. Please note: even if no one you know who is associated with your move exhibits COVID-19 symptoms, if a member of your removal team does, you may experience delays. These are unprecedented times, and as a result it is imperative that you are more flexible with your moving date.  

Both parties, yourself and the removal company, are protected by the ‘COVID Clause’. This ensures that, in the event of COVID-19 disrupting a move, neither party is at fault for the financial repercussions. If you require more information on this, we recommend contacting a conveyancing solicitor.  

What extra measures need to be taken to ensure everyone remains safe?

All government rules concerning limiting the number of people that you are in contact with are applicable to all stages of the moving process. This includes guidelines about:

  • Wearing face-masks and other personal protective equipment
  • Practicing social distancing
  • Washing hands regularly
  • Wipe down any objects before and after they are handled by anyone outside of your household or support bubble

Please note: COVID-19 can live on surfaces for up to 24 hours. Therefore, be sure to complete your packing a full day before your removal company arrives to take your boxes. 

Can a removal company and/ or friends and family help me pack?

The government advises you to do as much packing as possible yourself. This applies both to getting a friend to help you, but also requesting help from the removal company themselves. If your removal company is providing packing assistance or other such services, wipe down items before they handle them, do not offer refreshments, leave doors open and give anyone entering your home regular access to hand-washing facilities. The same applies with any individual outside your household or support bubble that you may want help from. 

What next?

Keep following the advice and guidelines of the UK government in order to stay safe and within the rules. For the latest updates in the moving industry, be sure to follow the websites of IAM and FIDI.

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