A second attempt by Labour to halt in-person property viewings during the pandemic has been batted away by the government.
Labour’s shadow secretary for housing, communities and local government - Thangam Debbonaire - tabled a written question to housing minister Chris Pincher.
Debbonaire’s question was: “To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of prohibiting in-person viewing of properties for rent during the Covid-19 lockdown announced in January 2021.”
Pincher dismissed the claim, writing in response: “We have worked with industry and public health authorities to ensure home moves can take place as safely as possible during this period. It is important that people who need to move can do so and home viewings are an essential part of the home moving process.
“Where viewings are taking place in rented properties, tenants’ safety should be the priority of letting agents and landlords.Our published guidance advises that initial viewings should take place remotely where possible, and only those seriously interested in the property should view in person.
“Where in-person viewings occur, we advise that the current occupiers vacate the property in order to minimise unnecessary contact. Property agents and landlords should make sure viewers and occupants of the home understand how they should conduct themselves to protect their health and the health of others.”
This is the second bid by Labour to halt in-person viewings - an earlier request by party leader Sir Kier Starmer was also rejected.