New restrictions leave housing market open

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Latest Covid restrictions across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have left the property and lettings markets largely untouched, for now at least.

The general rule is that properties may still be advertised for sale or for rent, house viewings may continue, and house moves may go ahead.

Online rather than physical viewings are encouraged while, in England at least, guidance suggests people outside the household should not be asked help in moves – meaning removal firms will be needed for the task.

Estate agent offices are open except in Wales, and tradesmen can be called on to undertake internal repairs – provided they follow covid-safe guidance.

At time of writing, 6 January, there had been no changes announced to eviction rules.

The courts remain open and possession orders can be sought but not enforced. The current ban on enforcement is due to expire on 11 January, so is likely to be extended.

The National Residential Landlords Association has warned landlords to expect further changes to the rules on letting and possession. It said landlords have done as much as they can to assist tenants but that now Government action is needed by way of a comprehensive package of financial support for landlords and tenants affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.

The latest restrictions are likely to see more tenants fall into arrears, it warned.

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