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Important Update for Conveyancing Clients – Government Guidance

Important Update for Conveyancing Clients – Government Guidance

Latest Government Guidance on Moving Home

On 26 March the Government produced guidance for those who are looking to buy and sell during the ‘stay at home’ period. The Conveyancing Association have produced similar guidance today which is as follows:

  • Parties should, where possible, delay moving to a new house while measures are in place to fight coronavirus
  • You should only move during the restrictions if your move is critical and it is safe to do so, for example, where the property is empty. If the empty property is in a chain, it may not be possible to complete without breaking the chain.
  • In line with Government advice, anyone with symptoms, self-isolating or shielding from the virus, should follow medical advice and not move for the time being. All parties should prioritise agreeing amicable arrangements to change move dates for individuals in this group.
  • If you do have to move you must follow advice from Public Health England and Public Health Wales on social distancing and must not endanger yourself or others during your move.
  • You should complete a deep clean if you are moving to a new home and must follow the advice given for decontamination of your new home if you know, or have reason to believe, that the previous occupants – or someone which they had been in contact with – has Coronavirus.

Things you should consider before deciding to proceed with completion of your move during the ‘stay at home’ period:

  • The expiry date for your mortgage offer – UK Finance have confirmed that all lenders are working to find ways to help customers in this regard.
  • Handing over of keys – with estate agents’ branches now closed it is important to consider how keys will be handed over between parties on completion, especially in line with the social distancing guidance.
  • Removals – the current guidance for removal companies is to delay where possible however, it is noted that a lot of removal companies are no longer offering services during the ‘stay at home’ period. You must therefore ensure that you have appropriate arrangements in place to ensure that the physical move can go ahead.

What if your purchase is in the early stages?

  • Surveyors should not expect to carry out non-urgent surveys in homes where people are in residence. No inspections should take place if any person in the property is showing symptoms, self-isolating or shielding from the virus.
  • Mortgage offers – some lenders are putting a hold on applications that are at pre-offer stage during the ‘stay at home’ period. If an offer has been issued and your financial circumstances change, this must be reported to your lender and could affect your mortgage offer.
  • Searches – if you are purchasing with a mortgage, most lenders require the searches to be no older than 6 months on the date of completion. You may therefore need to obtain updated searches nearer to completion. You may wish to consider putting the searches on hold during the ‘stay at home’ period in order to save costs.

Advice given to Conveyancers:

  • Conveyancers should continue to support the sales of unoccupied properties as far as possible.
  • They should make every effort to support clients who are due to complete on occupied properties in the ‘stay at home’ period to change this date.
  • They should advise clients who are ready to move not to exchanged contracts on any occupied property unless they have made explicit provision for the risks presented by the virus.
  • They should prioritise supporting anyone with symptoms, self-isolating or shielding from the virus and those they are in a chain with, and are urged to do all they can to help a new date to be agreed in these circumstances.

We will continue to work on all cases as far as we are able and will provide each and every client with the guidance and support that they need during this time. If you are unsure how the ‘stay at home’ period affects your sale or purchase please do not hesitate to contact us and a member of the team will be more than happy to assist.

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