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Buying or renting? Viewings now only allowed in person 'when contracts are being drawn up'

The new guidance was issued by the Department of Housing last night.

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THE GOVERNMENT HAS said that people should only be viewing properties in person for sale or rental at a such point that parties are ready to sign an agreement. 

As part of tougher Covid-19 restrictions announced yesterday, Cabinet agreed to the shutdown of most of the construction sector from 6pm tomorrow.

The decision means that all-but-essential construction works are to cease until at least the end of this month when the situation will be reviewed. 

The Department of Housing last night issued guidance in relation to this closure with Minister Darragh O’Brien saying that it was a necessary response to the spread of Covid-19. 

The department also provided guidance into the what it said should be a “limited functioning of the housing and residential tenancy market” during the current period of restrictions. 

During the almost nine months of varying levels of Covid-19 restrictions online viewings have become more prevalent and it was also common for proof of mortgage approval to be required for people to view a property for sale.

The new guidelines go further, however, and the guidelines now state online viewings should be the “default approach” and that viewing in person should only take place when contracts are being considered. 

“It has also been agreed that online viewings will be the default approach to viewing property for rental or sale, with a physical viewing only permissible at the point where a tenancy agreement is being entered into or where a contract for sale has been drawn up,” the guidance states.

“This approach balances the need to avoid social interaction with the need to provide a pathway to tenancy and home ownership for those who need it.”

According to figures released this week, last year saw the biggest increase in three years in the asking price for houses in Ireland. The report, from MyHome.ie, found that annual asking price inflation rose by 6.3% nationwide, by 4.8% in Dublin and by 7.2% elsewhere around the country.

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Rental prices in four out of Ireland’s five major cities also increased last year compared to the previous year. 

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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