From midnight on January 4, people in Level 4 areas of Scotland will only be permitted to leave home for essential purposes and people should work from home wherever possible therefore Indigo Square staff will be working remotely for the forseeable future. With issues such as home learning etc, this may mean that your call goes to answer machine or your email takes a little longer to be answered but what does it mean for house moves and maintenance? We have reviewed the new legislation and discussed the issues with trade bodies and confirm as follows;
Remember, this new legislation has been put in place to protect us all and to protect the NHS so we should all be reviewing the issues from that perspective first. Specicifcally The First Minister said: “There is a balance to be struck here. In terms of business, we are not, as of now, in quite as restrictive a position in terms of non-essential work in construction and manufacturing, for example, being closed as we were back in March. But this is something we need to keep under review – both in terms of the spread of the virus, but also that really important relationship, which I do understand, between people’s requirement to work and ability to look after children.”
The Scottish Government guidance also includes moving home as a reasonable excuse for someone to leave their residence.
Home moves and viewings
People can move home but it is advisable to postpone viewings of properties and delay home moves, where this is possible.
Repairs & maintenance
Tradespeople should only go into a house to carry out or deliver essential work or services, for example:
- – to carry out utility (electricity, gas, water, telephone, broadband) safety checks, repairs, maintenance and installations
- – to carry out repairs and maintenance that would otherwise threaten the household’s health and safety
- – to deliver, install or repair key household furniture and appliances such as washing machines, fridges and cookers
- – to support a home move, for example furniture removal
When carrying out essential work in someone’s house, tradespeople should stay 2 metres apart from the people who live there, wear a face covering and follow good hand and respiratory hygiene.
Safety checks for lettinsg properties
These should continue to take place to obtain safety certificates with the caveat that tenants are quite entitled to refuse access at this time. If this is the case, in a non-confrontational way ask for confirmation in writing.
House moves across countries (UK and further afield) and across Tiers
The current travel ban between Scotland and other countries has a number of exemptions which can be found at https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ssi/2020/344/schedule/7A and Section 18 (k) of the new legilation allows us to “move home or undertake activities in connection with the maintenance, purchase, sale, letting, or rental of residential property that the person owns or is otherwise responsible for”. Although it is advisable to postpone house moves in level 4 areas if possible, they can still take place if necessary and new buyers/tenants can still move to Scotland from other nations for the purposes of a house move.
Outdoor Works and Construction
For outdoor workplaces during lockdown, construction and manufacturing can remain open, but employers should plan for the “minimum number of people needed on-site to operate safely and effectively”.
Works undertaken in a second home/rental property
The guidance reads it is acceptable to leave home “for activities in connection with moving home (including viewing a property), or for activities in connection with the maintenance, purchase, sale, letting, or rental of residential property that the person owns or is otherwise responsible for.” The guidance adds: “Travelling for the purposes of undertaking essential work on a property other than your main residence should not be used as a pretext for a holiday.”
“You should not stay longer than for the length of time required to undertake the necessary work.”
In other words, no trips to a second home to test your eyesight or have a long weekend. Trips to a second property/holiday home should be to undertake required works and you should be there only for as long as required to undertake these works.
These restrictions are currently in place through January. We have the vaccines coming online. In a fortnight AstraZeneca will be putting 2m does of the vaccine into vials EVERY WEEK. At that point the limiting factor on how many people can be vaccinated will switch from manufacturing to distribution. With two thirds of all deaths being among over 80s and people in care homes, if we can get close to the numbers vaccinated promised by mid February then the restrictions can start being eased and those house moves/repairs that have been put on hold can be recommenced. Hopefully any inconvenience we all experience will be limited to the next 4-6 weeks and reducing thereafter.