Covid-19 has changed our whole way of life. It has had a different impact on different areas of our practice. It is arguable that the impact of The Coronavirus Act and associated regulations will have the biggest impact on our residential conveyancing team.
Typically, we are instructed on a matter in person. Social distancing has stopped face to face transactions. The Conveyancing market has been affected for a number of different reasons and there has been increased anxiety for movers. Moving home is stressful at the best of times and it is fair to say that the new way of life has not helped.
We thought it would be useful to put together some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) to assist people.
Has your conveyancing team stopped working ?
No, we have had to adapt the way we work but we are still working on existing files and new instructions. Luckily, we have a brilliant case management system which means that our staff can work as well from home as in the office.
I’ve been told that I cannot complete. Is this true ?
This depends on many factors but some residential conveyancing transactions can complete. The government has set out guidance:- https://www.gov.uk/guidance/government-advice-on-home-moving-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak
What does this mean for my property move which is scheduled whilst the stay-at-home measures to fight coronavirus (COIVD-19) apply?
- Home buyers and renters should, where possible, delay moving to a new house while measures are in place to fight coronavirus (COVID-19).
- Our advice is that if you have already exchanged contracts and the property is currently occupied then all parties should work together to agree a delay or another way to resolve this matter.
- If moving is unavoidable for contractual reasons and the parties are unable to reach an agreement to delay, people must follow advice on staying away from others to minimise the spread of the virus.
- In line with government’s advice, anyone with symptoms, self-isolating or shielding from the virus, should follow medical advice which will mean not moving house for the time being, if at all possible. All parties should prioritise agreeing amicable arrangements to change move dates for individuals in this group, or where someone in a chain is in this group.
If we can safely complete on your behalf we will do so. The safest option for those wishing to complete is to simultaneously exchange and complete your sale or purchase on the same date
If you ring our team we can advise you in relation to your individual transaction.
If I can’t complete until after lockdown has finished, does that mean that my case won’t be worked on?
No, there is plenty of preparatory work to be done before completion and we will continue to work on your file up until the point where there is nothing else that can be done. This means that when lockdown finishes we will be in a position to quickly complete upon your transaction.
I’m thinking of buying or selling a house. Are you still accepting new instructions?
We are pleased to accept new instructions. As discussed above their will inevitably be delays in your transaction but there is nothing stopping us from setting up the file and starting the process.
As people cannot view properties due to social distancing, realistically the number of new transactions will be much lower than we usually have.
There are issues in relation to the banks and lending, as well as considerations about whether house prices will drop as a result of Covid-19. We cannot provide you with advice as to whether this is the right time to buy or sell but if you have reached a decision, we can assist you with the transaction.
We have seen a number of transactions understandably withdrawn due to Covid-19. However, the majority have been put on hold for 3-4 weeks in anticipation of restrictions being relaxed.
There are a number of transactions that can proceed such as transactions involving empty properties as there is no risk of social interaction. The best thing to do if you are unsure whether a transaction you are considering could progress is to contact us. We are happy to talk to existing clients and potential new clients. We can advise you as to whether a potential transaction could be completed in the current circumstances.
How will we know if the situation changes ?
We are constantly reviewing the Law Society and Government guidance. We have a specialist page on our website (insert link) which we regularly update to offer guidance and support . If the situation changes, we will know and we encourage you to regularly visit our website as all updates will be published there.