How to Safely Move House During Coronavirus Pandemic
After almost 2 months of standstill, the housing market has finally re-opened in England. Buyers, sellers, and renters were all waiting for this moment. However, things are not back to normal when you move house. But is it safe to move house during the coronavirus pandemic?
The government advised that those who are involved in the moving process should take extra safety measures in order to prevent the spread of the virus. Although some of the advice may seem impractical for removers and their clients, it is always recommended to follow the government guidelines to ensure that the move can happen safely.
I’m going to walk you through the governments’ latest advice, and help you to follow the best practices in order to safely move to your new home.
New advice on how to move house during the coronavirus pandemic
First things first, there are still measurements in place at the time of writing. Scottish, Welsh, and Northern Irish governments kept their restrictions on moving homes, whilst the English housing market has just reopened a few days ago.
It is expected that the market will soon reopen across the whole country, and each government will ease the measurements.
On 13 May 2020, the government has amended its initial advice to the public in order to make things clear.
Here is what you need to know if you live in England:
Let’s go through some of the points in order to answer frequently asked questions about moving home during the pandemic.
Can house removal companies operate during the coronavirus pandemic?
The short answer is yes.
Removal companies, man and van companies, and furniture delivery companies got the green light to return to work.
However, all firms are advised to take appropriate measures to mitigate any risk.
It is highly recommended to contact your removal company as early as possible in advance of your move.
Most removal firms got extremely busy since the government relaxed the original measures in place.
So I strongly recommend getting in touch with your preferred removal or man and van company, preferably 3-6 weeks in advance.
Can I hire packing services for my house move during coronavirus?
The answer is yes, but only if it is absolutely necessary.
Packers can make so much difference when it comes to removals, saving you time and stress. However, in this current situation, it is our shared responsibility to look after each other.
So even though it may seem convenient to hire removals packing services, it is advised to do as much packing as possible for yourself.
If it is impossible for you to pack, search for a reputable removal firm and ask about their packing services. It is also a good practice to ask what packing materials and boxes will they supply.
Most removal firms have a cautious approach to packing (ie. only packing breakable items), so it is always better to double-check before booking.
What should I clean before moving out?
The government asked people who are about to move to clean their belongings. Whilst this may seem unnecessary for some, it is a good practice to clean your belongings before they are handled by others.
I made a little research and made a list of things to clean before you are moving out.
Things to clean before the removers arrive:
- Hard surfaces
- Door handles (internal and external)
- The designated bathroom (to be used by the moving crew)
- Keys/ fobs
- Lift buttons
- Your belongings, where possible
- Any surface that can be frequently touched
Things that you will need:
- Soap and lukewarm water
- Hand sanitiser gel
- Paper towels
Which cleaning products to use to clean before moving out?
According to Jane Greatorex, a virologist at Cambridge University, using bleach is like “using a bludgeon to swat a fly”.
Even though bleach seems like the obvious choice for sanitising surfaces, it might not be the best option for tackling coronavirus.
Experts agree that milder acidic soaps, like regular washing up liquid, are recommended to safely clean surfaces.
So there is no need to rush to get the fancy cleaning products from the supermarket. Instead, use your regular washing up liquid with lukewarm water to easily and safely clean things before the removers arrive.
In addition to this, a deep clean is always recommended when moving in and out of a property.
What are the best practices when removers are at your home?
Use masks and gloves to protect yourself and the removers. Open windows and doors to allow ventilation and minimise contact. If you move with little or no furniture, try to organise your things to be moved into one room.
Meeting and greeting your removers are best to be done outside the property. I’d also recommend to politely ask on the day if anyone has symptoms from the crew. Make sure to communicate with your removers and ask any questions about hygiene and safety practices before they start.
The government advised removal firms and clients to practice social distancing whilst moving houses. Many people would agree that this advice might be difficult to put into practice.
Try to observe and maintain the two-meter social distancing measures.
Removers will find it almost impossible to keep a 2-meter distance from other team members, especially when carrying heavy furniture or bulky items.
So it is a good practice for clients to stay in a designated room of the house during the move.
From my own experience, most of my clients prefer to leave the property before the moving process starts. When possible, they wait outside their property until the loading is done.
You must trust your movers to safely move everything without your presence, so make sure you select a reputable removal company or a man with a van.
After serious safety measures were introduced in March, governments will slowly start to allow people to move freely again. It might take a long period of time until things go back to normal, and until then, we all must stay alert. Don’t forget that it is our shared responsibility to limit personal contacts in order to stop the spread of the virus.
By preparing things beforehand and planning the moving thoroughly, you will minimise the risk for those who are involved in the moving process.
Also, keep in mind:
- If you or any removers have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms (however mild), you should not go ahead with the move.
- It is a good practice to ask on the day if everyone is feeling well.
- Always follow social distancing guidelines
- Wash hands regularly
- Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched. This needs to be done before and after your move.
- Do not travel in the van if possible.
Most importantly, always follow the Government’s advice and keep yourself updated on the gov.uk website
Are you moving post lockdown? Do you have any questions? Let me know in the comments below!