After an intense lockdown period, limits on moving into new homes in England were removed in May 2020. But what impact did the temporary restrictions on moving into a new house have on renters?
According to new research by Ome, utilising data from government-approved deposit protection scheme mydeposits, lockdown caused a marked decrease in the number of new tenancies.
Restrictions on moving to a new home in England spanned across three months: March, April and May 2020.
The new data reveals that in this three-month period, 61,972 new tenancies were protected. This highlights a 31 per cent decrease in new tenancies compared with the same period last year when March, April and May 2019 saw 81,055 new tenancies protected by mydeposits.
In England, lockdown is generally seen as commencing on 23 March 2020 when Prime Minister Boris Johnson instructed the public to stay at home and closed many businesses, however, restrictions on “non-essential” travel and advice to work from home were given from 16 March.
Emergency legislation restricting movement was then issued to prevent the public from moving to new homes unless absolutely necessary. On 26 March 2020, The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020, was published. It imposed new restrictions on movement during the ‘emergency period.’
These emergency regulations stated that: ‘During the emergency period, no person may leave the place where they are living without reasonable excuse.’
From the end of March up until mid-May 2020, moving homes was prohibited for many. Rules on moving to a new house in England were relaxed on 18 May 2020 as long as suitable safety measures were taken.
Matthew Hooker, Ome Co-Founder, comments: "As we head into what looks like a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic it is important to reflect and learn from the initial spring period. As the initial impact of coronavirus restrictions hit us the entire nation was having to react quickly to a number of unprecedented changes, and the evidence shows the rental sector was not immune.
"We now know far more about the virus and its wider impact on society and the economy than we did at first, however, there is still likely to be a significant period of uncertainty and flexibility required for landlords, agents and their tenants. We'd therefore urge tenants and landlords to start making contingency plans together for the winter just in case the virus rears its head again over the festive period."