The latest amended version of the The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Wales) Regulations 2020 have been published.

As previously announced, they include provisions relating to moving home and ancillary services such as preparing a home for rent or conducting viewings.

Before the amendments, moving home was only permitted “where the move cannot be postponed”.

This is now changed to simply “move home” (note there is no other tests associated).

In addition, a person can leave the home for other reasons relating to residential property namely to:

  • prepare a residential property for persons to move in,
  • undertake the following activities in connection with the purchase, sale, letting or rental of unoccupied residential property—
    • visiting estate or letting agents, developer sales offices or show homes;
    • viewing such a property.

Note our highlights. Viewings are only permitted for “unoccupied” premises and accompanying guidance states a property must be vacant for 72 hours in order to be deemed unoccupied.

The guidance does seem to allow for viewings less than 72 hours if “a deep clean of the property has been undertaken”.

The guidance provides some key points in relation to viewings for landlords and prospective tenants:

  • you should do your property searching online in the first instance
  • initial viewings should be done virtually and property agents should help you to do this
  • all physical viewings of vacant properties should be by appointment only physical viewings of vacant properties should be limited to members of the same household, and ideally, where possible, the adult members of that household only (thereby limiting the number of visitors including children, viewing a property)
  • the landlord or agent can accompany the viewing, but must maintain social distancing at all times
  • no open house viewings should take place
  • the agent must travel separately to the property from the household viewing the property, no car sharing
  • when physically viewing vacant properties you should still avoid touching surfaces, wash your hands at the earliest opportunity following the visit and bring your own hand sanitiser
  • viewings of empty rooms in houses of multiple occupation or shared accommodation should not take place
  • once the viewing has taken place, the landlord or agent responsible for accompanying the viewing should ensure surfaces, such as door handles, are cleaned with standard household cleaning products and towels disposed of safely or washed as appropriate.