When will Scotland’s property market re-open?

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On 21 May, the Scottish Government published ‘Scotland’s Route map through and out of the crisis’ which set out how and when we might ease our lockdown restrictions, but how does that apply to the housing market and home moves?

Phase 1 – prepare for the safe reopening of the housing market

 During phase 1 the stay at home guidance remains the same and so Sellers and Buyers are urged to delay moving while these restrictions remain in force.

  • No home visits should take place by any other person or business in relation to anything connected with the purchase, sale, letting or rental of residential property.
  • Surveyors should follow the latest guidance and may continue to support the property market providing Home Reports etc if they can do so in a way which is fully consistent with the social distancing advice.  
  • Solicitors and Estate Agency firms are urged to use their own professional judgement on what situations mean a house move is necessary. A firm can conduct a valuation and engage with other professionals as needed, if they deem the circumstances appropriate.
  • Members of the public should not leave their home to progress any aspect of the purchase, sale, letting or rental of residential property, other than for a reasonably necessary move as per the guidance of 31 March.  ‘Reasonably necessary’ may include where a new date of entry cannot be agreed.
  • Solicitors and Estate Agents etc resuming in later phases can undertake preparatory work on physical distancing and hygiene measures by permitting staff to prepare premises for the relaxation of the restriction of housing moves in Phase 2.

Phase 2 – relaxation of restrictions on housing moves

  • No specific start date for phase 2 yet. As soon as we have more information on Phase 2 we will provide an update. We anticipate this will be on or around the 18th June. In order to progress, there needs to be evidence of the virus transmission being controlled. If it remains suppressed, then gradually, more restrictions will be removed.
  • During phase 2 members of the public will be allowed to leave their homes in order to undertake certain activities in connection with the purchase, sale, letting or rental of residential property, including: –
  • Visiting estate or letting agents, developer sales offices or show homes
  • View residential properties to look for a home to buy or rent
  • Prepare residential property to move in
  • Move home, or
  • Visit residential property to undertake any activities required for the rental or sale of that property.

This will allow Agents and Surveyors etc to travel to work where necessary to undertake these activities in a safe manner.

  • Home Moves will no longer have to be reasonably necessary; home moves will be permitted.

 At the moment our valuers are happy to provide virtual and desktop valuations and generally have a chat through your property related questions.

Exterior of Morgans Office in East Port, DunfermlineAs well as concentrating on the behind-the-scenes preparations ahead of the re-opening of the property market in Phase 2, whilst we do love buying and selling houses for clients, we also provide a broad range of other legal services: –

  • Private Client (Wills, Powers of Attorney, Executries & Guardianships)
  • Family Law (Separations, Divorces, Contact etc)
  • Litigation (Criminal and Civil Court matters)

and can continue to assist clients with their legal requirements, despite not being able to meet in person.

Although our offices remain closed to clients in accordance with Government advice, we can still advise clients and take instruction by telephone or email. With the help of modern technology, our solicitors can see clients via video calls (facetime/WhatsApp/Zoom etc) to verify ID and deal with the signing of documents remotely.

We’re working behind closed doors with reduced staff and are putting the necessary safety and hygiene provisions in place, so that we can welcome clients old and new to our offices just as soon as it’s safe and appropriate to do so.  Further updates will be provided as guidance becomes available.

Contact us by telephone on 01383 620222 or by email at info@morganlaw.co.uk and your query will be passed on to one of our team.