COVID-19: Conveyancing Can Continue27 Mar 2020 | Rachael Atkinson
COVID-19 is causing confusion in all aspects of life including conveyancing. Thankfully the government has now issued clear guidance as to what transactions can continue and what transactions may need to be placed on hold for now. The government’s guidance can be found on the following link and it is worth a read – https://www.gov.uk/guidance/government-advice-on-home-moving-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak
The government has made it clear that there is “no need to pull out of transactions” and that there are transactions that can continue as normal. The key is that we must all ensure that we are following the guidance issued to stay at home and away from others to help prevent the spread of the virus.
Where you are purchasing a property that is already empty the government has confirmed that you may continue with your purchase. There will be a large number of transactions where this will be possible and proceeding with your purchase is encouraged.
If you have already exchanged contracts and the property is occupied then you should try to agree with all parties to delay completion; however, if this is not possible then you can continue to move but you must comply with the advice to stay away from others. Understandably anyone with COVID-19 symptoms, or who are self-isolating or shielding from the virus should not move where possible, therefore in these circumstances moving should be avoided.
So what does this mean if you haven’t already exchanged contracts and the property you are purchasing is not empty? This does not mean you need to pull out of your transaction as the Covid-19 situation is evolving on a daily basis.
If you are at the early stages of your sale or purchase you are likely some weeks away from being ready to exchange contracts, by which time the guidance from the government may well be different allowing you to proceed as normal. If you are ready to exchange contracts imminently but are not able to move you may need to pause until the restrictions are lifted. In the interim ensuring that all matters have been dealt with by your solicitor so that you are ready once the restrictions are lifted is advisable.
If you are looking to buy or sell a property estate agents are continue to advertise properties and some are carrying out virtual viewings.
With most of the UK now working from home some companies will be feeling the pressure. Here at Osbornes Law we are fortunate to have already invested in infrastructure and software to allow flexible working and working from home. It therefore is business as usual for us with transactions continuing to exchange and complete where possible. We are also finding that property offers are still being made and accepted regardless of COVID-19.
Blog post by Rachael Bewick
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