Moving home (COVID-19)



Now that the government’s eased restrictions on moving home, we can start letting our homes again.

We’ve continued to get our empty homes ready (within the safety guidelines) and we’re now busy finishing these off so people can move in. But we need to do this safely so it’s likely to take us longer than it used to.

Everyone’s safety remains our priority and we’ll continue to follow government advice so please check here regularly for further updates.
 

Lettings

The first moves we’ll be able to make are into empty homes which are already ready for residents and also into new-build properties.
  • If you’ve already been offered a home with us, we’re now getting in touch to discuss how and when you’ll be able to get the keys to your new home. Please bear with us while we make our way through our list of customers to contact. 
  • If you successfully bid on a home that was advertised before lockdown, our lettings team will also be contacting you. 
Any moves involving someone who’s shielding may have to be delayed but we’ll discuss this with anyone in that position.

(You may also find the government guidance on moves helpful – you can find the latest here under housing and accommodation.)
 

Swapping homes

Things are also more complicated where two households are swapping homes (a mutual exchange).
 
Additional gas and electric checks are needed to make sure that each property is safe, which can take some time, with both homes being lived in. 
 
We’ve now started to resume our mutual exchanges. But with a backlog of over 230, it’s going to take us time to catch up so we’ve tried to give a bit more detail below.
 

Phase 1 – Sovereign to Sovereign swaps

We initially tested our approach with 7 swaps completed in late June. This was part of a phased approach where we started with:
  • Sovereign residents swapping with another Sovereign resident
  • Both homes having had their electric checks completed before lockdown
This allowed us to consider our new safety procedures and produce detailed guidance on what we’ll need both sets of residents to do and avoid doing.

This first phase was successful – and we’ve also been able to improve our approach to exchanges because of this. So we’re now looking to complete the remaining exchanges in this first phase (another 7) and then move into phase 2 and beyond. 
 

Phase 2 – Sovereign to another landlord

If you’re waiting to move to another landlord, we’re continuing to work with them to find out if they’ve also resumed their mutual exchanges or when they plan to start. We know some will not start until the autumn. 
 
If the other landlord is ready, and we’ve completed our property checks, we’ll contact you directly over the coming weeks to arrange your swaps. We have around 30 of these to process so we know this is going to take some time. We’ve also had to change some of our processes to make our inspections and sign ups safe for everyone – we’ll talk to you about how this’ll work.


Phase 2 – other applications

As part of phase two, we’ll also contact everyone who made an application either just before or after we went into lockdown (This is around 200 individual exchanges, so potentially over 400 customers). 

We’ll let you know soon if we’re able to progress your application (based on our requirements and your individual housing needs). Again, we know this may take some time,  but please be patient with us – we’ll call you as soon as we can.
 
We’ll keep you updated and do appreciate that delays are frustrating, so we’re working hard to minimise these while still keeping everyone safe. Please keep checking here for any further updates.

If you don’t feel you’re in a position to move and would prefer to wait (and keep your exchange as pended), we also completely understand, and will work with you. Any moves involving someone who’s shielding may also have to be delayed but we’ll discuss this with anyone in that position.
 

Home ownership sales and resales

Home ownership sales will continue as many of our developer partners are now back on site to build desperately needed homes.

Our Sovereign Living website gives the latest information on the new measures to keep everyone safe across every step of the home buying journey.
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