Scottish housing market to re-open as lockdown restrictions are eased

People in Scotland, from Monday, June 29, will be allowed to move house providing safety guidance is followed.

By Neil McGrory, Local Democracy Reporter
Friday, 26th June 2020, 1:10 pm
There will still be an emphasis on physical distancing and hygiene, and doing as much of the process of buying or selling a home online as possible. Photo: John Devlin
There will still be an emphasis on physical distancing and hygiene, and doing as much of the process of buying or selling a home online as possible. Photo: John Devlin

Restrictions affecting the housing market are being scaled back now Scotland has entered Phase 2 of the Scottish Government’s plans to end lockdown, so the public will be able to visit estate agents, view properties, move home or prepare a property for a move and visit a property to carry out other activities relating to its rental or sale.

New guidance from the Scottish Government reinforces the importance of physical distancing and hygiene, encourages virtual viewings, and doing as much of the process of buying or selling a home online as possible.

There will be restrictions on the number of people allowed to view a property at the same time and surfaces such as door handles should be cleaned before and after each viewing.

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Economy secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “I know that the restrictions on the housing market have been causing difficulties for many people who want to buy, sell, rent or move home.

“The easing of these restrictions will therefore be welcome news to the public and to the many businesses involved in the housing market.

“Our primary concern is for people’s health and we have acted in line with the best available medical and scientific evidence in producing our guidance. We are keen to get the housing market moving fully again and to ensure people move home safely, as well as support business as part of the economic recovery from Covid-19.”

John Sinclair of the Law Society of Scotland, added:  “This has been an extremely challenging time for solicitors, as they strive to protect their clients’ interests and health and safety – while managing real concerns for the future of their businesses.

“While this guidance does not signal a return to business as usual, it is a measured but very positive development for the profession, the clients they serve and the Scottish economy.”

Solicitors Property Centre Scotland chief executive Paul Hilton said: “Health and safety is of the utmost importance, so we welcome this guidance from the Scottish Government to help the property market move forward in the safest possible way from next week.”

Mhoraig Green of Citizens Advice Scotland, said:  “As the housing market opens back up, CAS is glad the Scottish Government has provided clear guidance for anyone involved in a home move.

“We’re particularly pleased to see our recommendations on protecting shielding renters and landlord responsibilities are included.”