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28 April, 2020 Open access

Government issues guidance for social landlords on supporting vulnerable people to move home during the coronavirus outbreak

New guidance makes clear that essential moves should continue during the crisis, where they can be done in line with social distancing

The government has issued new guidance for social landlords designed to support the most vulnerable tenants to move home during the coronavirus outbreak.

Introducing the new non-statutory guidance, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government says supporting vulnerable people to move to new homes during the pandemic should continue to be a priority, and that all social landlords should prioritise essential moves over non-essential moves and do what they can to ensure they can take place when safe to do so.

The government advises that essential moves include those that -

The government says that if people are able to move into a more settled home over this period  -

'... it could free up space in temporary accommodation or in hospitals and other healthcare settings, helping more people get access to the help or medical support they need.'

The government advises however that non-essential moves, such as home transfers, should be paused in order to help reduce the spread of infection while emergency measures are in place during the COVID-19 crisis. Where moves or transfers do have to take place, the government says that landlords have a responsibility to carry out their functions in line with the latest government advice on social distancing, and that 'this message should be communicated clearly to applicants'.

For more information, see New guidance for social landlords on essential moves from gov.uk

NB - the Scottish Government has also issued guidance, COVID-19 Allocations Advice and Information for the Housing Sector, that includes advice for landlords, housing managers and service delivery staff on how to safely continue processing vacant housing stock whilst providing secure and, where possible, settled accommodation for those experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness, or those who are vulnerable and/or in unsuitable accommodation.