What You Need To Know About Moving House In A Pandemic

What You Need To Know About Moving House In A Pandemic

If you’re one of the lucky ones who have managed to sell or buy a house this year, it pays to know what’s expected of you – and your removal firm – come moving day. From the appropriate PPE to wear, to the services still on offer, we turned to the experts to answer the main questions.

First, what are the most important things everyone should know about moving right now?

As Max Peterson from White & Company explains, while the government have given house moves the green light, it’s still crucial to ensure all facets of your move will function properly. “Be sure to get in touch with removals companies to determine these considerations,” he says. “Is the removals company completely operational in the course of the pandemic? Are they fulfilling the necessary health and safety practices? Do you need to follow any more safety measures? What transpires if you or a member of your household exhibits symptoms or feels unwell? Are they available to conduct a new house move immediately or are they booked?”
Indeed, according to John Burridge, managing director at Richardson Moving and Storage, a wave of unprecedented demand continues to sweep the removals industry – which makes forward-planning an absolute must. “Everyone in the moving chain is incredibly busy at the moment,” he says. “For that reason, it is imperative people prepare well in advance, get their quotes in early and always use a professional company. Second, there should always be a back-up plan in place, just in case things go pear shaped. For example, have the option of moving your belongings into storage in case the purchase is delayed – don’t lose your sale just because you aren’t flexible. Finally, try to get a minimum of two weeks between exchange and completion. This will make life – and the move – far less stressful.”

What steps should you take ahead of the big day?

 According to Max, there are various steps you can follow to ensure you are ready. “Organising your belongings and deciding what items will move with you to your new home is a great use of time,” he suggests. “Belongings that you will not be moving to your new house can be divided from the keepers. Put them aside, ready to be sold or donated to charity when the constraints of the lockdown are reduced. It is also advisable to start packing some of your belongings – especially if the removals company have provided you with boxes. If you have not received boxes from your removals company, any suitcases and containers that you have at home can do the job – just make sure you keep everyday items unpacked, and pack lesser-used objects first.” That said, in light of mixed evidence around how long coronavirus can survive on surfaces, Max adds it’s not advisable to borrow any moving boxes and materials from your friends, family or neighbours. “Don’t seek out any used boxes – instead, making the most of what you already have will uphold safety.” Alternatively, be sure to request packing materials from your removal company in decent time.

So wait – is it still possible to book packing and unpacking services?

 According to John, companies such as his are still offering a packing and unpacking service, although it’s discouraged for the time being as it’s less Covid-safe than doing it yourself. “An unpacking service may be possible, but it depends on the moving company,” he adds. “The Covid-safe way is to leave goods packed for as long as possible after the move, where possible.”

And how should you dispose of all materials afterwards?

 “Even today, you’ll find removal companies are keen to take away materials that are in good condition – as long as they have been the ones to supply it,” says John. “If you’ve used a local firm, they should also return to collect boxes after the move, once you’ve given all goods and materials time to naturally disinfect.” Max agrees: “While all of your movers will have used PPE, ensuring all items are cleaned will help to further protect everyone living in your home. Another key consideration is to correctly dispose of all packaging supplies. Collect every box and all of the materials left over from your move in a garden shed, garage or in the garden if you can. When you are able to safely dispose of these materials make sure to meticulously cleanse the area.”

It is imperative people prepare well in advance, get their quotes in early and always use a professional company. Second, there should always be a back-up plan in place, just in case things go pear shaped.
John Burridge

Once moving day arrives, how can you ensure you’re staying safe?

When it comes to staying safe on moving day – particularly if your household includes kids and pets – it’s important to know what’s expected of you in terms of maintaining a secure environment. “Everyone in your household involved in the move should always wear a mask and make sure there is plenty of hand sanitiser around,” says John. “It always helps to stay out of the way, too, so the job can be done efficiently and safely.” With that in mind, watch your social distancing at all times, and try to leave most of the work to the professionals – even if it feels like you’re being unhelpful. Max agrees: “Before the outbreak of the pandemic, it would have been normal to employ the help of movers, members of your family and even friends to assist on moving day. While this additional help can make a move run quickly, it is now essential to adhere to social distancing guidelines.”

What practices should the removal staff follow?

“At all times, staff should be wearing clean uniforms, safety shoes, a mask – and be well equipped with hand sanitiser. If they’re not, you’re within your rights to point it out,” says John. “To start with, your mover should have created a permanent bubble or teams within their workforce. This is then supported by having only two people in a vehicle at one time, who will be following the established and best-practice procedures already put in place.” As for the vehicles themselves, they should always be tidy and clean inside, says John. “Some movers are changing transit blankets after every move and rotating stock every 72 hours, while others are carrying out disinfectant fogging of the vehicles after each move. It’s also reasonable to expect your mover to put down floor protection to protect your floor coverings in the new home.”

What happens if someone in your household tests positive for coronavirus before moving day?

Although house moves have been permitted for some time, understanding we’re still in the middle of a global pandemic is crucial. “Should you or any individual within your home begin to feel unwell or start to exhibit any symptoms of coronavirus, it is essential to suspend your move, making sure to self-isolate for the recommended period,” says Max. “Inform the necessary firm as quickly as you can, as this will go a long way to ensuring the move can be rescheduled to a more suitable date.” Although it may not be convenient and could add a few weeks to your move, it is important, agree the experts. “Informing the appropriate companies helps to safeguard all of those participating in your move and will act to lessen the spread of the virus,” says Max. “If you or a member of your household are medically vulnerable it is important to thoroughly contemplate the situation.” As for refunds or possible compensation, John has this to say: “If the moving company insists you cancel, then you will get a refund – but no other compensation. There are companies out there who see this as a reciprocal arrangement – try to use one that takes this approach and make sure everything is agreed in advance.”

Any final tips?

“The terms and conditions of any move are important – most do not have a Covid clause in them, so you need to ask your mover to agree to one in writing at the time of quoting,” explains John. “Like anything, the devil is always in the detail.”
For more information or to request a quote, visit RichardsonRemovals.co.uk or WhiteAndCompany.co.uk

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