Covid-19: Can you still move house?

April 2 2020, Matt Brownsey

The Covid-19 pandemic is rapidly affecting all our lives. In these new and confusing circumstances, you probably have a lot of questions. You may want to know how this situation affects your house removal. Therefore, we have created a small FAQ to help you understand how the Covid-19 pandemic influences your current or potential house move, and how you can stay safe in the process.

Note: Circumstances change fast, we cannot guarantee that this article is forever accurate. Regularly check the Australian government’s website to get the latest Covid-19 information.

Are moving companies still operating? If yes, what security measures are taken?

In short, yes. Removalist services are still seen as essential services by the government. This means that they are currently able to move your goods locally and interstate. However, it is not exactly “business as usual” and there some precautions you should be aware of.

What has changed?

In order for you and the movers to stay safe it is advised that during a move everyone should:

  • Frequently wash hands.
  • Use social distancing when possible (stay 2m apart from others).

Also, you should tell your removalist prior to your move if you have symptoms or have been in direct contact with someone positive for Covid-19. Some companies may even ask a series of questions about your possible Covid-19 exposure. As a result, companies and customers can manage the risk accordingly.

Services that can be performed remotely (i.e surveys and quotes) will be done over the phone or via webcam. This is to reduce non-essential human interaction.

What if I already paid part of my move, but now it’s being cancelled? Can I postpone my move? Can I receive a refund?

You should contact your removalist immediately to see what their policy is. To our knowledge, many moving companies are offering full refunds for cancellations (for international moves) caused by Covid-19. Furthermore, if you want to cancel your move because of Covid-19 then you may also receive a full refund. Alternatively, many companies are offering customers the chance to postpone their move for free.

What if my container is already on its way overseas, but I can’t travel there?

This situation will be assessed on a case by case basis as the international policy is constantly changing. If your container is already overseas, the most likely outcome is that it will have to go into storage at the destination until you are able to travel. However, this also depends on whether the destination country’s port is still allowing goods to arrive.

If your container needs to go into storage then be aware that there could be some additional costs. We recommend that you keep in regular contact with your removalist to manage the situation.

We have found some links that can provide more information regarding international moves:

I have planned to move abroad in a few weeks/months. What do I do now?

Unfortunately, there are no concrete answers at the moment as the situation is ever-changing. Keep in close contact with your moving company to see if a prospective move to your destination is still possible.

It is true that the moving industry in other countries is not deemed “essential” and companies are not operating. It is possible that Australia could also follow this directive in the future. Therefore, although moving services are operating now, there is no guarantee they will be working next week or next month. We recommend that you prepare for this possible reality. If your house move is not urgent then consider waiting for the pandemic period to conclude before moving.

In fact, some interstate and international lockdowns are coming into place, so it may become increasingly difficult to move between states.

What next?

Keep following the advice and guidelines of the Australian government in order to stay safe and within the rules. For the latest updates in the moving industry, be sure to follow the websites of IAM and FIDI.


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