Another lockdown and more confusion. With restrictions changing over time and across the states of Australia, you don’t know what you can and can’t do right now.
And that includes moving.
Maybe your tenancy just ended so you’re looking for a bigger place to accommodate a new family member. Or you sold your home and need to get from Home A to Home B without contracting or spreading COVID-19.
Throughout the move, you want to be sure you’re protecting everyone involved.
And boy, are there a lot of people involved in moving, from your family to removalists to cleaners!
With so much to consider, we know you might be feeling overwhelmed.
But don’t worry. We’re here to answer your questions about moving during lockdown. Below we’ll provide you with a clear guide on how to move safely.
1. Can I Move During Lockdown?
The most pressing question comes first: can you move home during lockdown?
The answer largely depends on the state you are residing in and the current lockdown restrictions in place there.
So, unfortunately, we can’t give you a simple “yes” or “no.”
But we can provide you with some guidance to help you think through whether a move is permissible.
For example, even during the most severe lockdown restrictions in Victoria, a person can leave the premises in which they ordinarily reside if:
- The premises in which the person ordinarily resides is no longer available or suitable for them to reside.
- The person is moving to a new residence at which the person will ordinarily reside.
So it should be okay if you are moving because you recently purchased or sold a property in Victoria. Similarly, if you entered into or left a lease, you should also be permitted to move.
But if you are simply looking to move a few items into your mum’s garage to create more space at home, you will probably need to wait to do so until after lockdown ends.
And that’s just one example.
We recommend that you check with your state authority website to check the level of restriction and what is permissible in your particular state, as every state has different lockdown protocols.
Moving during lockdown in Melbourne may look very different than moving during lockdown in Brisbane.
If you’re unsure about whether the move you have planned is permitted and you can’t find the answer on the state website, call up your state authority (for example, Business Victoria or The Victorian Corona Virus Hotline) and ask for advice.
Once you explain your situation, the state authority should be able to give you an authorization number for your proposed activity.
2. Can I Engage Other Moving Related Services During Lockdown?
So you’ve checked your local state authority and found out that you’re allowed to move during lockdown.
But hold the phone and don’t try to hire anyone to fix your leaky sink quite yet.
First, you’re going to need to check with your local state authority to determine what services you can contract to help with your move.
Unfortunately, just because you can move and engage the services of the removalist doesn’t mean you can hire other service providers like pre-packers, cleaners, or a handyman.
And this can be a huge bummer because these individuals do a lot to make moving house easier for you:
|Pre-Packers||Pack and unpack your boxes.|
|Cleaners||Do a vacation clean.|
|Handyman||Complete small home repairs.|
If you aren’t able to contract with these providers while moving during lockdown, you may have to undertake these tasks on your own.
But don’t worry!
With not much else to do under lockdown, you will hopefully have a bit of extra time to dedicate to these tasks.
And the internet has an abundance of information and how-to videos, so you can add a new skill, like fixing a leaky sink, to your toolbelt during your move.
Just remember that when cleaning your home, you should be sure to sanitize as many high-touch surfaces as possible. That way, you can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 to any future tenants or owners of the building.
3. How Do I Book Removalists During Lockdown?
A key part of engaging removalists is doing a walk-through of your home before a move.
On-site inspections allow your removalist to gather important information so he can provide the highest levels of service for your move. This may include:
- Gauging the size and complexity of your move.
- Identifying challenges and providing solutions for your move.
- Giving you a quote or estimate of cost for your move.
Unfortunately, however, moving during lockdown may prevent removals companies from performing in-home inspections during the quoting and assessment stage.
Once again, you’ll need to check with your local state authority to determine what is and isn’t allowed.
And even if an on-site inspection is allowed, it may be better to avoid it to minimise contact.
We are in a pandemic, after all.
Fortunately, there’s a work-around for in-person quoting.
And it’s similar to the way you’ve been able to stay in touch with your grandma throughout the past year and a half – virtual meetings.
Many removals companies are now using virtual quoting online platforms, such as Shyft, to provide clients with quotes. These platforms have been specifically developed for the moving industry.
This means that all you have to do is download a convenient app and give removalists a virtual tour of your home with your smartphone.
And if your chosen removalist doesn’t have a fancy platform, they can always do a virtual tour with Facetime, Skype, or Whatsapp.
4. How Do I Find The Right Removalist?
You’re hiring someone to come in and move all of your most precious belongings during the middle of a pandemic, so you want to be sure you’ve found the right removalist.
And during COVID, you want to be all the more sure that you can trust your removalist.
But the removals industry is still pretty unregulated.
Seriously, there are some scary stories out there about Australians who’ve had terrible experiences with dodgy removalists – from broken belongings to belongings not arriving at all.
The thing is, outstanding removalists ARE out there. You just have to do your research to make sure you’ve found the right service provider to do the job well.
The right removalist is reputable and has COVID Safe Policies and staff training in place.
If you want to be sure the company you hire is both reputable and takes COVID safety seriously, you should consider the following:
Check their online reviews
When doing a background check on a removalist company, check their reviews across all their social media and review sites – not just their website.
This includes the company’s Facebook, Google My Business account, and review sites.
Remember, Facebook and GMB is the most reputable source of information regarding reviews because people are leaving feedback under their personal accounts – not a pseudonym they made up to cause trouble, kids these days…
Watch out for:
- A mixture of 5-star reviews and 1-star reviews: look for consistency
- How the company responds to reviews: this gives you insight into their professionalism
- Reports of a removalist showing up from a different company: this indicates that the company has been outsourced by an agency, which can lead to problems if there’s a dispute and you have to deal with multiple parties
Are they accredited by AFRA (Australian Furniture Removers Association)?
AFRA is an official body that regulates the removals industry in Australia.
Checking for AFRA accreditation and using their site to find a removalist gives you complete peace of mind that you’re dealing with a legitimate company.
Removals companies that are registered with AFRA all carry public liability insurance and most can also provide transit insurance for your belongings – so you’re covered.
You can rest assured that all AFRA members have also completed compulsory COVID Safe training.
Do they have a COVID Safe Policy?
In some instances, companies (such as Home Move) will list their COVID policies and practices on their website for potential clients to view.
This way, everyone is on the same page when it comes to appropriate COVID safety precautions while moving during a lockdown.
5. How Should I Prepare For The Move During Lockdown?
Moving during a pandemic takes a bit of extra planning and preparation to ensure everything goes smoothly. There are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind when undertaking your move.
This may include identifying:
- Proper cleaning procedures
- A plan for isolation
- The necessities you want to bring with you (food, water, and entertainment)
And when it comes to cleaning, COVID safety should be at the forefront of your mind. Be sure to wipe down any high-touch surface areas with an antiviral disinfectant. These surfaces may include:
- Light switches
Similarly, your plan for isolation should keep you, your family, and your removalists safe. When your removalists are present, you should isolate yourself in your backyard, plan to wait at your new property, or stay in one room of your home.
And don’t forget the necessities! While you isolate and wait for your removalists to do their job, you’ll need to make sure you have food, water, and entertainment for yourself and your kids.
The last thing anyone wants during a hectic move is cranky kids.
Be sure to keep these preparations in the forefront of your mind even if you’re moving in a hurry. Taking those few extra moments to make a plan for your move during lockdown goes a long way in making your transition easier on everyone involved.
6. What If A Family Member Gets Sick Before The Move?
Moving house with a family can be complicated, especially if you’re moving with young children, elder adults, or pets.
But what happens if a family member gets sick?
That’s simple: don’t take any chances with your loved one’s health or the health of others.
If you or any members of your family develop COVID like symptoms before your move, we recommend you do the following:
- Notify your removalist immediately.
- Get tested.
- Delay your move until your test results come back.
We know. That sucks. But so does getting other people sick with a serious illness.
You should make sure your removalist is undertaking similar protocols on their end as well. The last thing you want is to get sick right as you get to your new home.
7. What If Lockdown Restrictions Change?
We are all well-acquainted with the disruptions COVID causes.
And these disruptions haven’t been easy on anyone.
But with lockdown restrictions regularly in flux, we’ve gotten used to changing plans.
That goes for moving, too.
Moving during lockdown requires a flexible mindset. What may work one day could be impossible a week later. Despite everyone’s best efforts at using COVID safe practices, there is always the possibility that your removalists may develop COVID-like symptoms the morning of your move (or even during your move).
If this is the case, your move may need to be delayed or rescheduled.
Similarly, lockdowns being extended or rules being tightened may affect whether or not your move can go forward.
As such, you should be prepared to alter your moving plans and create a backup plan. This plan should take into account the possibility that your removalists are not able to assist with your move, either due to tightening restrictions or active COVID cases within the company.
We know how frustrating this is, especially given how complicated the entire moving process can be.
The best thing you can do in this situation is take some deep breaths and then speak to your removalist, who can help you work out the next steps for rescheduling your move.
8. What’s The Best Way To Be Safe On Moving Day?
We all want to keep healthy and avoid contracting COVID-19.
And the best way to stay safe on moving day is to minimize contact with your removalist wherever possible.
So when your removalist first arrives, we recommend that only one family member and one removalist does a walk-through of your home. This helps reduce the number of person-to-person contacts during the move.
Additionally, you should use the following protocols as basic guidelines throughout moving day:
- Maintain social distancing of 1.5 meters.
- Wear a mask at all times.
- Do not shake your removalist’s hand (but know that we’re glad to meet you, too!).
- Avoid sharing pens or signing digital screen contracts.
- After the walk-through is complete, leave the premises or isolate in a designated room if leaving isn’t possible.
After you have left your home or are isolated in one room, you should try to avoid further in-person communication with your removalists when possible.
Instead, you can use your smartphone to communicate further instructions, using video calling apps if necessary.
9. I Have At-Risk People At Home, How Can I Look After Them When Moving During Lockdown?
The last thing you want to do is accidentally spread COVID to someone vulnerable to getting a serious case of the illness.
And taking this into consideration while moving during lockdown can definitely feel overwhelming.
But we all know how important it is to protect at-risk people right now, which include:
- Elderly adults
- Pregnant women
- People with underlying conditions
So what’s the absolute best thing you can do to protect your vulnerable loved one?
Make sure they aren’t on-site during the move.
This is what many removalists recommend to keep your loved one safe.
If that’s impossible, you should notify your removalist that a vulnerable person will be on-site the day of the move. During this conversation, you can work with your removalist to identify solutions that will help keep your loved one safe.
10. Help! I Need To Move Out But I’m Stuck In Another State/Country
You thought you’d have plenty of time to go on a short holiday to rejuvenate yourself before the big move.
Unfortunately, many people have had the challenge of organising remote moves this past year, whether they’re stuck out in the country or wanting to move interstate or overseas.
You’re no longer able to make it home in time for your move, so what are you supposed to do?
First, recognize that you’re not alone in this. You will figure things out.
Then, read our advice below:
- Find a reputable removalist. Online reviews are a great place to start. Just be sure to sort the honest reviews from the shady.
- Ensure your removalist provides a high level of communication. The last thing you want is to be left in the dark during such a tumultuous time.
- Identify a way to grant the removalist access to the property. For example, can a key safe be left on-site by the real estate agent?
- Find friends or family that can help coordinate the move (if permitted).
- Ensure that the removalists contact you by phone at key points throughout the move if you are not going to be on site.
The table below outlines some of the key stages of your move. These are the points at which your removalist should be actively communicating with you.
|Stage of Move||Reason for Communication|
|Arrival at Old Home||You and your removalist should confirm what needs to be moved.|
|Leaving Old Home||You and your removalist can ensure everything that needs to be loaded has been loaded.|
|Finished Dropping Off Items at New House||You and your removalist can ensure that everything has been completed to your satisfaction.|
Conclusion: Moving During Lockdown? Talk To A Trusted Removalist
Moving is stressful enough already.
And moving during lockdown definitely takes things up a notch.
But there are steps you can take to make moving easier and safer.
The first step? Talk to a trusted removalist!