Mutual Exchange, Government Guidelines Published 21 May 2020

For residents seeking to move home the Government has made changes to legislation to ensure people who wish to move home can do so safely and have published advice on home moving during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. This will provide important public health information to ensure that moving home and key activities around this can happen safely.  

This change applies to residents who are seeking to mutually exchange. You are strongly encouraged to read the guidance if you are considering moving home during this time. The process of finding and moving into a new home will need to be different, we have adapted our process to ensure that the risk of spreading coronavirus is reduced as far as possible. This is particularly important for those who are shielding. If you have any questions about the guidance or how it applies to you, please contact us by emailing info@chorushomesgroup.co.uk

The detailed guidelines can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/government-advice-on-home-moving-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak#history

How does this affect me?

One of the simplest steps you can take when moving home is to wash your hands frequently and wherever possible stay at least 2 metres apart from people who are not members of your household.

The process of finding and moving into a new home will be different, we will complete all of our process using online facilities and virtual contact.

We encourage all parties involved to be as flexible as possible over this period and be prepared to delay moves, for example if someone becomes ill with coronavirus during the moving process or has to self-isolate. It may also become necessary to pause all home moves for a short period of time to manage the spread of the coronavirus. We will let you know if this has to happen.

You will not be able to move into any home where people have symptoms of coronavirus or are self-isolating.

What extra precautions do I need to take with viewing the property I want to move to?

When you find a property to exchange into you, you should:

  • Use virtual viewing methods such as face time to view the property you are interested in moving to, in order to minimise public health risk. If any member of either the household being viewed, or the household undertaking the viewing is showing symptoms of coronavirus or is self-isolating, then a physical viewing should be delayed. All viewings should take place by appointment and only involve members of a single household.
  • If your property is being viewed, you should open all the internal doors prior to the viewing and allow access to hand washing facilities and ideally separate towels / paper towels. Once the viewing has taken place, you should ensure surfaces, such as door handles are cleaned with standard household cleaning products and towels disposed of safely or washed as appropriate.
  • If you are viewing another property you should avoid touching surfaces, wash your hands regularly, and bring your own hand sanitiser. The number of people on a viewing should be minimised to those from your household that absolutely have to be there. If you need to be accompanied by small children, you should try to keep them from touching surfaces and ensure they wash their hands regularly.
  • We recommend that you vacate your property whilst viewings are taking place and the same guidelines are followed if you view another property, in order to minimise your contact with those not in your household.

What happens when I am happy with the property I wish to move to?

Once you have found the property you wish to exchange with and the other party is in agreement you should:

  • Ensure that all members of the other household do not have the symptoms of coronavirus or shielding.
  • Contact the other landlord and ensure they are also progressing mutual exchange applications.
  • Contact Chorus Homes and we will arrange for a Senior Neighbourhood Warden to contact you to complete a virtual viewing of the property for our own records. If this is not possible we will require 2 photos from every room within the house that show the date of the property. The Senior Neighbourhood Warden will be able to provide some further guidance on this when they call you.
  • Once the property inspection has been completed satisfactory and landlord references have been obtained for the exchanging resident, we will send you a Deed of Assignment to sign and return electronically by all parties. This document will advise on the date you can exchange.
  • We encourage all parties to be as flexible as possible over this period and be prepared to delay moves if needed, for example if someone becomes ill with coronavirus symptoms during the moving process or has to self-isolate. You should not expect to move into any home where people are ill or self-isolating.

What extra precautions do I need to take during the actual move?

Anyone involved in any aspect of the home moving process should practice: 

  • Social distancing in line with public health advice.
  • When moving between properties, you and those in your household should try to do as much of the packing yourself as you can. Where this is not possible, you should speak to removal firms in advance. There is further advice about this below.
  • If you are particularly worried about the risk of infection, then speak to the professionals involved, your landlord, estate agent or removers as they may be able to put in place extra measures.

Everyone involved in the moving process must follow social distancing to minimise the spread of the virus.

Advise with moving your belongings:

Removal firms are able to operate, although they may need to adjust usual procedures in order to ensure moves happen as safely as possible.

  • We encourage you to contact removal firms as early as possible in advance of your move.
  • You and your household should also try and do as much of the packing yourself as possible. However, where you are using a removals firm, you may wish to talk to them in advance to discuss packing and in particular, the arrangements for packing fragile items.
  • We ask that, where possible, you clean your belongings, with standard domestic cleaning products before they are handled by others, including removal firms.
  • Whilst the removers are in your home, you should ensure any internal doors are open and seek to minimise your contact with the crew, maintaining a distance of at least 2 metres where possible.
  • All parties should wash their hands and avoid touching surfaces where possible to reduce the risk of transmitting the coronavirus.
  • You should not provide refreshments but you should ensure they have access to hand washing facilities, using separate towels or paper towels if possible, which should be washed or disposed of safely afterwards. 

Tradespeople entering my home:

Moving home is often a time when you realise you have repairs that need to be completed. You may find that these take longer to be completed due to our repairs service focusing on emergency repairs initially.

Our operatives will follow the Government’s safer working guidance. We will ensure all our operatives understand how to operate safely and communicate this to customers.

We will be required to complete a Gas check at your property before you can move. Therefore we will contact you in advance of this visit to check that no member of the household is showing symptoms of coronavirus or self-isolating. Please note the following:

  • No work will be carried out by a person who has coronavirus symptoms, however mild.
  • Our operatives will clean their hands on entering the property using hand sanitiser and will remain 2 metres apart from householders at all times.

We also need to ensure no electrical alterations have been made to the property and if so that you have written permission and an electrical certificate to validate this.

Please note legally you cannot move until the physical gas and virtual electrical checks have been completed and satisfied.

We appreciate that some applicants and residents may be anxious to move home at this time. Please note that a mutual exchange is an option that you choose to do and therefore you are under no pressure to move.