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From 5th January, everyone in mainland Scotland is legally required to stay at home in order to curb rising cases of Coronavirus – this will be reviewed at the end of January. The Scottish Government has updated their stay-at-home guidance with a list of reasonable excuses which permit people to leave their home.

The Scottish Government has said: “Whilst it is permitted to leave your house for activities in connection with moving home (including viewing a property), or for activities in connection with the essential maintenance, purchase, sale, letting, or rental of residential property that the person owns or is otherwise responsible for, at this time it is advisable to postpone, if possible. Travelling for the purposes of undertaking essential work on a property other than your main residence should not be used as a pretext for a holiday. You should not stay longer than for the length of time required to undertake the necessary work."

This means that house moves, property viewings and home valuations are permitted at this time, provided they can be carried out safely. However, the Scottish Government has said that, taking into account the new strain of COVID-19, it may be advisable to postpone house moves and related activities such as viewings if possible. 

The Scottish Government also recommends that you view properties virtually first and only view in person if you are seriously interested in making an offer.

For sale board

Viewing a property safely

If you do need to view a property in person, you should:

  • Book an appointment by contacting the selling agent – open viewings are not permitted.
  • Restrict the number of people who attend the viewing and ensure you are all from the same household.
  • Try to travel to the viewing on foot, by bike or by car – if you must use public transport, try to arrange the viewing at a time when public transport will not be busy and follow the necessary guidance on travelling by public transport.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitiser – the agent or seller will likely be able to provide you with access to hand washing facilities.
  • Maintain social distancing at all times from whoever is conducting the viewing. The Scottish Government has also recommended that you consider wearing a face covering.
  • Avoid touching surfaces.
  • Cancel the viewing if you or anyone in your household tests positive for COVID-19, is a contact of someone who has tested positive or displays symptoms of the virus.

If you are selling your house and conducting a viewing, you should:

  • Clean all surfaces in the property, such as door handles, with standard household cleaner before and after each viewing.
  • Open all the doors in the property to prevent viewers from touching the handles. You may also wish to open the windows to ensure the property is well-ventilated.
  • Ask the rest of your household to wait outside during the viewing to limit contact with another household.
  • When the viewers arrive, provide them with access to handwashing facilities, with separate or paper towels, which should be washed or disposed of safely.
  • Maintain social distancing between you and the viewer at all times. The Scottish Government has also recommended that you consider wearing a face covering.
  • Cancel the viewing if you or anyone in your household tests positive for COVID-19, is a contact of someone who has tested positive or displays symptoms of the virus.

Property valuations and marketing materials

If an agent or surveyor requires to come to your property in order to value it or produce property marketing materials such as a Home Report and photographs, you must also follow the health and safety guidelines as above for viewings.

Your agent and surveyor can advise you more on this before their visit.

Moving house safely

If you are moving house, the Scottish Government advises that you try to do as much of the packing yourself. However, if you require the assistance of a removals firm, you should follow the same health and safety guidelines as for viewings and valuations.

You should also make sure to clean any belongings with domestic cleaning products before they are handled by others, including removal firms. The removals company can advise you more on this before they visit.

The Scottish Government has advised that you avoid asking friends or relatives from a different household from helping you move if possible.

Find out more

Find out more advice for Scottish property buyers and sellers during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Read the Scottish Government guidance on moving house and COVID-19.

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