With government advice to stay home unless absolutely necessary, the market for sale and purchase transactions almost feels like it’s on pause at present, particularly in light of many mortgage lenders withdrawing a plethora of products and physical surveys not able to be completed.
These unprecedented times have had an impact on almost everyone, every aspect of life and every business. There is indeed far more at stake currently and those elements, of course, pale into insignificance when considering the lives lost thus far. We would also like to salute the key workers risking their health every day and thank them for their excellent service.
Government’s Advice on Moving House
A government spokesperson has sought to provide clarity on the evolving situation by stating the following in late March – “Home movers should, as far as possible, delay moving to a new house while emergency measures are in place to fight coronavirus.
“If moving is unavoidable for contractual reasons and the parties are unable to reach an agreement to delay, people must follow advice on social distancing to minimise the spread of the virus.
“Anyone with symptoms, self-isolating or shielding from the virus, should follow medical advice and not move house for the time being.”
Further advice states that if you have already exchanged contracts and the property you are moving to is currently occupied then parties should work together to agree a delay. If not possible then please follow the advice on staying two meters apart to minimise the virus’ spread. We are pleased to report that many parties are really working together through quite testing and chaotic instances, proving flexible to the situation and our understanding of the impact the pandemic has caused to all.
Guidance on vacant properties is that transactions can continue to proceed, although when moving upon completion, people will indeed need to adhere to the measures on social distancing. Please also speak with removal companies to understand how they are managing this process if at all operating at this time. You may still be able to proceed depending on whether removals can be undertaken personally or with the help of those you currently live with.
We can confirm the panel of property solicitors at Your Conveyancing Solution have found ways to work remotely or operate a reduced staff rota complying with social distancing measures. We understand the stress of moving and that has been magnified in these far from normal times and wherever possible the teams across the country are continually aiming to support clients in any way they can.
This can be in the form of helping extend mortgage offers to fit the inevitably delayed timeframes, to negotiating potential new completions dates with several parties simultaneously, still unsure of whether they can be met due to the restrictions in place. Completion dates are being tentatively put into June and July with the option of bringing that forward subject to agreement by all parties involved.
Movers should, and particularly those with mortgage offers issued to them already, inform their conveyancer and lender of any significant changes to their situation that may affect completing on a purchase and maintaining future or ongoing payment.
Communication is a key ingredient of any transaction, now even more so than ever before!
Effect on Conveyancing: Long Term
As the industry as a whole gradually tries to revert back to some semblance of normality in the future via the re-opening of conveyancers offices, estate agents branches, the resumption of house building, mortgage lending and property surveying, the pause button will be released although life is likely not to be playing at the same speed as it was. Only then will the full effects on the industry start to be known but we feel apart from some elements such as working remotely more often and possibly lending decisions taking a little longer, the practice and participation of home moving will likely remain very similar to how we know it now.
Further government guidance can be found here.
Disclaimer: The article above is only an opinion piece on the potential impact the current Coronavirus pandemic may have on the conveyancing industry and was formed on the date of publication.