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See a house, not your mum

A man
an estate

THE government has come under fire after telling homebuyers they can look round a property — but cannot visit their own family and friends.

It came after housing secretary Robert Jenrick allowed estate agents to reopen as part of his plans to put the property market ‘back in business… with the most radical restarting of an industry in the first phase of our national recovery road map’.

Childminders, cleaners and people looking to rent a property will also be able to enter homes as part of the gradual easing of the lockdown — along with removal companies.

Yesterday, his fellow minister, transport secretary Grant Shapps, insisted on BBC Breakfast: ‘We must understand, we have done so well in the last eight weeks we cannot throw that all away, and so these are baby steps.’

He said of the lifting of restrictions on the property market: ‘If someone visits a home, that’s likely to be a one-off — if you are starting to visit your family again, that’s likely to be many more times.

‘Somewhere there has to be a line drawn where we say, “This is OK but this isn’t”, in order to gradually release things. And this is where that line is at the moment.’

Presenter Dan Walker challenged him, saying: ‘You talk about common sense, but it means potential buyers and renters, and childminders and cleaners can go into a property but members of a family who live in a different household can’t. That doesn’t sound like common sense.’ SNP housing spokesman David Linden accused the government of changing its message from ‘stay home, protect the NHS and save lives… to saying that you can traipse around any random stranger’s house’.

‘Line’: Grant Shapps on BBC Breakfast

A Downing Street spokesman said: ‘Estate agents and others will be required to follow strict social distancing rules wherever possible. That’s obviously entirely different to you visiting a person’s property for the specific purpose of having personal contact with them.’

Metro told on Tuesday how people would be allowed to meet one parent in a park while the other waits in a car before swapping over.