If you are in the process of moving or have a move scheduled within the next few months, you may have questions and concerns regarding how COVID-19 will impact your move. Information is changing by the day – sometimes by the hour – and varies from province to province. The most important thing, however, is that you stay safe! The federal government has published a list of coronavirus safety guidelines set out by experts, and they’re updating their official sites daily as new information emerges.
While we’re not an official government or health site, we’re here to help answer questions about moving during COVID-19. We’ll be posting updates during the pandemic to keep you informed. And if you’re a current MoveSnap user, our Concierge Team is on call to address any questions or concerns.
4 answers to common questions about moving during the COVID-19 outbreak
1. Is my move still happening?
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, moving services were deemed an essential service. This means, barring individual decisions from moving companies, moves are still permitted to take place.
If you’re at the stage where you’re still sourcing movers, many companies are now using virtual survey software to provide estimates in order to maintain social distancing.
Lawyers are also classified as an essential service, and although many will be working from home, they have been cleared to continue their practice.
Real estate professionals have been asked to conduct open houses and showings online, but many are still working to the best of their capacity to support you – from a safe social distance! Utility service providers are also considered an essential service, although wait times may be impacted by demand. Please contact your local utilities provider to confirm service schedules.
Some bank branches have been closed to protect public health, with a number of staff being reallocated to call centres in order to continue supporting clients with a range of services. Your financial providers are considered an essential service, but keep in mind that all banks are experiencing significant call volumes, so check their websites for the best way to get in touch with them.
But please continue to check in with your real estate, legal, bank and moving professionals, as they will be making decisions about how they will conduct operations throughout the coming weeks on an individual basis.
2. What are moving companies doing to keep my family and me safe?
Moving companies are communicating with their clients about their COVID-19 related safety plans and procedures, but these are all individual decisions by the company so far. Many will have published news on their websites outlining their personal mandates as a company – whether they’re suspending moves for now, or whether it’s business as usual. There are also industry guidelines around the companies’ measures to ensure the safety of both employees and clients.
3. What happens if my movers cancel?
First, take a deep breath and count to ten. In case your movers cancel last minute, here are some steps you could take:
Step 1: The DIY approach
If you’re able to manage the move on your own, renting a truck could be a quick and cost-effective solution. Call your local rental company and see if they can meet your move date and requirements.
Step 2: Other moving companies
It’s no fun to scramble for another estimate and commitment. However, many moving companies understand how stressful this time is for everyone and are doing their best to help their communities. Pick up the phone and ask for any new openings. With some people postponing their moves out of precaution, there may be last-minute spaces available. And if you are a MoveSnap client, your Concierge is happy to step in and help you with your search.
4. What is happening with my home inspection?
The Ontario Association of Home Inspectors has released COVID-19 messaging that, to date, suggests they are still operational but at the individual discretion of the home inspector. However, they request that the resident not be present during the inspection in order to promote social distancing. In this case, the best course is to contact your home inspector to see whether they are still visiting homes on site.
5. What should I do if my move-in date is postponed due to coronavirus?
It’s frustrating to deal with a postponed move, but there are some solutions that can help ease the stress of rescheduling. Here are some steps you could take to smooth things over until your new move-in date
Step 1: Put your items in storage
Ask your moving company if they offer free storage options until you can sort out new arrangements. This will give you some breathing room to vacate your current home while you wait for a new closing date in your new home.
Step 2: Consider short-term rental options
The world is pretty chaotic right now, but you can still find a place to land. For example, your real estate professional may be able to direct you toward short-term leases, or you can search for a temporary rental unit online. Many come furnished.
Step 3: Prepare to stay at home safely
If you need to remain in your current house for the foreseeable future, the first thing to do is make sure you contact your utility providers to resume service. They should be able to adjust your account to keep the lights, gas, and hydro on temporarily.
Step 4: Call your moving team
A postponement typically results in a chain reaction, where everyone from your lawyer to your mortgage specialist, to your movers, will need to be informed. Many movers will permit a cancellation or postponement without a penalty, although this is individually determined. Your lawyer and mortgage specialist will need to adjust any paperwork to reflect the changes.
Know that the industry is working hard to adjust to these new and ever-changing circumstances. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to the MoveSnap team if you need support. We’re all in this together.