Moving House in Level 4
After the First Minister’s announcement on Saturday, the whole of Scotland, albeit with limited exceptions, will enter into Level 4 on Boxing Day and the restrictions will remain in place for three weeks. Many people buying and selling property at this time may be wondering what these rules mean for plans to move house over the festive period and this post seeks to provide such guidance.
According to the latest Scottish Government guidelines, people are permitted to move house in Level 4 with the exception of those self-isolating or experiencing any coronavirus symptoms. However, it should be borne in mind that people from a different household or support bubble should not help with the move unless absolutely necessary.
Property viewings are also permitted but should take place by appointment and only involve members of a single household. Measures such as social distancing, the use of face coverings, frequent hand washing and the cleaning of all surfaces are strongly advised when viewing a property. Where possible, virtual viewings are encouraged. It is reassuring that solicitors, estate and letting agents and removal firms can continue to work under Level 4 restrictions. Despite this, many such businesses may be closed over the festive period and this should be borne in mind.
Under Level 4 restrictions, people are not permitted to travel outwith their local authority area. However, one of the limited exceptions to this rule are those who are buying or selling property in a different area of Scotland. Travel is permitted in connection with moving house (including viewing a property), or for other related activities such as the collection of keys.
A more detailed discussion of the Scottish Government guidance on moving house can be found at https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-moving-home/pages/advice-to-the-public/. See also the Scottish Government Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on travel and transport at https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-travel-and-transport/#exceptions.
This briefing note is current as at 21 December 2020 and is our understanding of the position described at that date. Legal advice ought to be taken before relying on its terms (particularly to ensure the law has not changed).