Moving Home During 2021 – Update from Tod Anstee


This week we heard the prime minister’s announcement that further pandemic restrictions are now being enforced across the country, and at least until mid-February.

While this might not have been the way any of us hoped to start the New Year, the Tod Anstee team has been working diligently behind the scenes to clarify exactly what this means for the UK property market – and you, our clients.

We are pleased to confirm that both the government and governing and regulatory bodies from the housing market have announced that we will remain open, as will the property sector, throughout this period.

Can I Move Home During the New Lockdown?

You can, indeed, still move home. Every area in England is now under ‘Tier 5’, and here we’ll summarise what that means, and how it impacts our ability to move, sell a property, or invest in a new house.

The government has published more detailed advice about moving home during the pandemic, which you can access, online.

It states that “You can still move home. People outside your household or support bubble should not help with moving house unless absolutely necessary.

Estate and letting agents and removals firms can continue to work.

 If you are looking to move, you can go to property viewings. Follow the national guidance on moving home safely, which includes advice on social distancing, letting fresh air in, and wearing a face covering.”

With the seriousness of these new measures, we are doing everything possible to keep you safe, and so working practises you may have seen last year will be reintroduced.

It’s essential for us all to be responsible, and limit any interactions beyond those that are really vital. Therefore you might see more online viewings, need to wait a few days to view a property that has been recently vacated, or limit the number of people who can attend an appointment. We are very grateful for your patience during this time.

If you’re in any doubt about viewing a rental or purchase property or what you can do to streamline your house move during the lockdown, do get in touch as there are many ways we can work together to avoid delays and yet keep everybody safe.

Throughout any property transaction, the Tod Anstee team is implementing National Lockdown Guidance at each step of the process. These include the below rules around moving home:

  • Respecting measures such as social distancing, fresh air circulation and wearing a face covering during the moving period.
  • Attending viewings on an appointment-only basis.
  • The permissible use of second homes to assist with viewings, property sales and moving personal belongings.
  • Opening windows and doors for viewings and cleaning all surfaces after each visit.
  • Staying away from home overnight while moving house is allowed – guest accommodation is permitted in these circumstances.

We are committed to delivering the same outstanding service levels as you expect, so even where arrangements might look slightly different from usual, our team is always on standby to help.

How Does the New Lockdown Impact Private Tenants?

We’ve also had clarification that tradespeople are permitted to work in homes, which means that if you do have any maintenance issues or urgent repairs, these can still be addressed during lockdown.

You can report any issues as normal, or give us a call if you have any problems, and we’ll work to get a resolution in place as quickly as we can!

There are a few changes to be aware of, but nothing that should prevent any important works from being carried out in most cases:

  • Social distancing guidelines should always be adhered to if a tradesperson is visiting your home.
  • Please open windows to allow fresh air to circulate prior to a maintenance visit.
  • If an occupant or tradesperson has tested positive for COVID-19, is vulnerable or shielding, or is symptomatic, then alternative arrangements may need to be made – do continue to report any concerns, and we will liaise to find the best solution.

Inspection visits will continue to be carried out regularly, and so landlords have the assurance that their properties will still be managed as normal.

Such inspections will be carried out virtually wherever possible or may be rescheduled until after lockdown depending on the circumstances, and any further updates we might receive about when that is likely to be.

What Will Happen to the West Sussex Property Market in 2021?

As we head into a fresh year, we’re all hopeful that we can return to some semblance of normality in the coming weeks and months. In the meantime, there is much speculation about what 2021 holds for the property market, following a year that can only be described as extraordinary!

Chichester and West Sussex have long been highly desirable places to live, with our unique city surrounded by some of the best countryside and coastlines that Britain has to offer. It has come as no surprise to many of our clients – landlords, tenants, and homeowners – that this region’s appeal has only grown in the last year.

The great city vs rural lifestyle divide has grown. More and more people are looking for contemporary living spaces and modern conveniences, yet a closer community feel and better quality of life.

We aim to continue to provide exemplary service across our estate agency and letting teams, with a bespoke service and dedicated attention to detail to help you achieve the property sale or purchase, or house move that you aspire to.

While nobody can yet know what the next few months will bring, here is a brief recap of the anticipated changes:

  • Demand for properties in West Sussex is likely to continue to be healthy, particularly as we approach March 2021 and the end of the Stamp Duty holiday period.
  • There is potential that this property tax holiday period will be extended in light of the new lockdown, although nothing is yet confirmed.
  • Mortgage approvals in the latter stages of 2020 reached peaks not seen since 2007, reported by the Bank of England at 105,000 in November 2020 reflecting the pace of home sales being completed – there is no sign as yet that this will slow down.
  • Estate agents and letting agents such as the Tod Anstee team continue to be open for business, with safe working practises implemented.

Just yesterday, Rishi Sunak announced a raft of new £4.6 billion business grants and discretionary local authority funds.

While the furlough scheme is set to end in April, which combined with the cessation of the Stamp Duty holiday in March might have been due to signal a quieter period in property, these economic stimulus packages and new announcements being made may well create a somewhat different climate going forward.

As a firm, the procedures we have implemented over the last few months have kept vendors, buyers, landlords and tenants safe and happy. We will continue to follow these meticulously over the coming weeks.

In this unsettling and unpredictable time, we are absolutely determined to provide as normal a service as possible, and all our divisions remain fully operational. We will continue to keep you up to date via email and our website. We are monitoring the housing market at both a national and local level and are on hand with the latest updates, and of course, pass on any further guidelines and information as soon as we have them.

We would like to thank you for your support during this difficult time, and if you have any questions or concerns, please contact us.