Covid-19 threw everything into chaos, especially in the world of bricks and mortar. For renters, the usual process of moving home almost disappeared overnight as the market went into a deep freeze. While renting a property was still permitted by the Government, doing so was only advised only on an essential basis.
Now, one week after some lockdown restrictions have been eased, and the property market begins to thaw, many renters are asking what are the new rules when it comes to renting? Can you rent, or should you stay in your current place if possible?
If you happen to be thinking of moving home, worry not. In this guide, we’ll explain how renting is currently working and what conditions relate to finding (and viewing) a new place with our guide to the new renting rules.
Go forth and rent
Demand for renting increased by 30% in the final weeks of April, which signals a desire for renters to find a new home. The good news is that it’s become slightly easier to rent a property than it was a few weeks ago.
While it’s not quite “business as usual”, letting agents are operating with more normality than they were previously. The housing market is essentially re-open, though the landscape looks a little different than in days gone by when you’d rock up at a property for a viewing.
Physical viewings are back… sort of
As a renter, you can go on physical viewings as long as you meet strict safety requirements. The days of having a good nose and opening all the cupboards are gone for now. Instead, it’s advised that you adhere to the following recommendations:
- Maintain social distancing
- Only the people moving should attend — no friends or family
- Viewers should avoid touching surfaces
- Present occupiers would need to leave the property for the duration of the viewing
- Renters may be asked to wear gloves and masks
- All viewings must be by appointment only
- The number of times a property can be viewed a day will likely be restricted
- All homes must be thoroughly cleaned, including communal areas
- Viewings should be delayed in the event of anyone displaying symptoms
This new way of seeing a property is being referred to as “contactless viewings”. If a letting agent is showing you around the property, they will go through an outline of how the contactless viewing takes place and inform you about any essential information you need to know beforehand.
Online all the time
Despite the return of physical viewings, all renters are advised to view properties virtually where possible. A growing number of agencies are placing emphasis on creating virtual viewings, making it easier for you to see the property.
Here at Movebubble, we’re committed to video walkthroughs. Our snappy, unedited videos provide accurate representations of homes with clear and concise commentary from the person conducting the viewing. You’ll even be able to see any communal areas or on-site amenities.
All videos come with useful insights that help you make an informed decision about renting, such as whether the apartment is quiet or if there's a particular point of interest worth knowing. And with instant access to agents via the Movebubble app, you can rent a property without the need to view it.
Business as usual for letting agents?
The majority of letting agents remained opened even during the strictest parts of the lockdown, albeit from remote locations. Some letting agents are now heading back to their office, though many have remained working remotely for the time being.
You will still be able to get in touch with agents and go through the process without interruption. This should help make renting a new home slightly easier in the current conditions, which still take some adapting to for all involved.
On the move
For many renters, hiring a removal van is one of the key aspects of moving home. During the lockdown, most removal companies weren’t in operation. That’s changed, however, and removal firms can now help you move home — with some slight tweaks.
Social distancing, washing hands regularly and wearing masks where necessary will be required for everyone involved with the removals process. Where possible, you should clean your belongings with domestic cleaning products before others handle them.
There’s no doubt that things are slowly getting back to some form of normality. But measures will be needed to keep everything ticking along while making sure everyone involved with moving is safe. You’ll probably need to get used to the new normal for the foreseeable future. Yet there’s no reason you can’t start getting excited about moving home again.