Property transactions during the Coronavirus disruption? Our conveyancing department address frequently asked questions:
I have already exchanged contracts. Can I still complete?
There is no need to pull out of transactions if you have already exchanged contracts. In fact, doing so will mean you could be sued for breach of contract. As of 26 March, the government is advising that parties and their lawyers work together to amicably agree alternative dates to move, for a time when it is likely that stay-at-home measures against COVID-19 will no longer be in place. The government is currently allowing critical home moves to go ahead as planned, but at this point in time, there is no definition of a “critical home move”. This will no doubt be something the government will seek to clarify over the next few weeks.
The property I am moving into is empty. Can I still move?
Yes; but all guidance issued by the government in respect of social distancing must be followed. Whether or not it is logistically possible to do so will depend on arrangements made with removals firms.
What happens if my mortgage offer expires before I complete?
UK Finance have confirmed that lenders are finding ways to extend mortgage offers by up to 3 months for borrowers who exchanged contracts before the restrictions were imposed. The best advice would be to contact your lender and ask how to proceed.
Will removals firms still be operating?
The government guidance for removals firms advises that firms should honour their existing commitments where it is clear that the move can be done safely for the client and the staff. They should only continue if the completion date cannot be moved. This, in effect, restricts removals firms to carrying out work for critical home moves, which as mentioned above, is a term of no apparent certainty at this point in time.
Someone has made an offer on my property. Can I still accept?
Yes. The selling process can still continue during this period but it is likely to take longer than normal. Many firms and companies involved will have limited resources during the lockdown.
Can I still put my property on the market?
The government advice does not expressly prohibit putting properties up for sale for now, but doing so could be more challenging than usual. The advice to estate agents is that they should continue to help clients where possible, but most agents will be operating with very limited staff numbers at present. What is made very clear is that no visitor should be allowed into your home and viewings should not take place unless they can be conducted virtually.
Now, more than ever, it’s important to get the best legal advice. Whatever your query – residential or commercial property – please get in touch.
01643 703234 email firstname.lastname@example.org