Home moves can continue and tradespeople will be allowed to enter homes to carry out repairs under the rules for the second lockdown due to start in England later this week.
Housing secretary Robert Jenrick also said construction sites will remain open and mortgage holidays will continue (picture: Parliament TV)
Home moves can continue and tradespeople will be allowed to enter homes to carry out repairs under the rules for the second lockdown due to start in England later this week #UKhousing
Amid fears that a second peak in coronavirus cases threatens to overwhelm the NHS, the government announced plans for a month-long lockdown which will come into effect on Thursday.
Detailed guidance has not yet been published, but housing secretary Robert Jenrick laid out key measures for the housing sector on social media. He said:
- The housing market will remain open, allowing renters and buyers to move house
- Tradespeople will be allowed to enter homes, provided they follow social distancing guidance
- Hardware stores and builders merchants will remain open
- Construction sites will remain open
- Mortgage holidays will continue for people struggling to pay their mortgage. The scheme had been due to end at the weekend, and an update is expected from the Financial Conduct Authority today.
Mr Jenrick did not mention a reimposition of the eviction ban, which was introduced by the government at the start of lockdown in March and lifted in September.
Permitting home moves is a contrast to the first lockdown where the housing market was effectively frozen for six weeks as coronavirus cases peaked.
1. As the Prime Minister said earlier – new measures will take effect from Thursday – the latest guidance is available online: t.co/zp0YyimR5J
I know many people will have questions – here are answers to some key ones for @MHCLG:
— Robert Jenrick (@RobertJenrick)
The new situation also appears to be less restrictive than the first with regard to repairs, when social landlords were told to take a “pragmatic and common sense approach to non-urgent issues”, with many pausing non-emergency services as a result.
In Wales, non-emergency repairs are permitted under the country’s ’fire-break’ lockdown, which is now in its second week, although providers are told to consider whether or not to delay it.
The new lockdown has also seen the government extend the furlough scheme for a month, which covers the salaries of employees where the business can no longer pay them. Many housing staff, particularly repairs operatives, were furloughed during the first lockdown.
Inside Housing produced a summary of previous lockdown guidance, which was kept updated until early July.
Further official guidance is expected this week.