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Tightened restrictions for working from home and in people’s homes

Wednesday 13 January 2021

First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has announced today, 13 January, six new changes to COVID-19 restrictions in Scotland to come into force on Saturday, 16 January, subject to Parliament approval. Among these changes are statutory guidance on working from home and a limitation on working within other people's homes by law.

Scotland went into lockdown on 5 January, however, activities in connection with the housing market could continue but with an emphasis on working from home wherever possible and strict guidelines on working in other people’s homes. This means the majority of property searches must be carried out online, properties to be viewed virtually in the first instance, and only physical viewing of properties for those who are in a genuine position to proceed with purchasing or letting the property.

This announcement takes those restrictions further and, subject to Scottish parliament approval, will put that guidance into law from Saturday.

Working in other people's homes

As outlined in Scottish Government guidance, it is still permissible for people to work in other people's homes in Level 4 areas, but this must only be to provide essential services such as urgent repairs and maintenance and essential work to support a home move, for example, furniture removal.

Quote mark

We will strengthen the provisions in relation to work inside people’s houses. We have already issued guidance to the effect that in level 4 areas work is only permitted within a private dwelling if it is essential for the upkeep, maintenance, and functioning of the household. We will now put this guidance into law.

Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon
First Minister of Scotland

It is vital that agents continue to follow the Scottish Government's guidance while working in other people's homes.

Working in other people's homes FAQ

Working from home

Scottish Government’s guidance on working from home states that organisations should make every reasonable effort to make working from home the default position. They intend to strengthen the obligation on employers to allow their staff to work from home whenever possible. The law already says that people should only be leaving home to go to work if it is work that cannot be done from home. If an employee was working from home during the first lockdown, they should be working from home now and employers should be facilitating that.

The Scottish Government's guidance on working from home has been updated and can be viewed below.

Stay at home guidance   Working from home guidance

Follow the safety guidance

Due to widespread compliance with the safety guidance, the property sector has been able to remain open as it is accepted that it is operating in a low-risk way.

For the market to continue to remain open, the whole sector needs to continue their hard work and ensure they are following the guidelines. Below you can find the Scottish Government guidance for moving home and our own best practice guidance for agents, including information on how you can conduct property viewings as safely as possible.

Home moving guidance   Propertymark guidance