Moving home in times of the Coronavirus – Be prepared!

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2020 began with an optimistic outlook for the UK housing market and according to the forecasts made by Rightmove, property sales were at a high not seen since 2016. The sales were also happening faster nationally and 17% more within London. The average new seller asking prices were at a record high, beating the previous record set in 2018. All the figures pointed towards a housing market moving in the right direction. Then suddenly the coronavirus pandemic forced every aspect of life to come to a standstill and there are now so many uncertainties as to what to expect next. However, here are some helpful points to consider:

  1. All sales and purchases which have not been exchanged should proceed by way of a simultaneous exchange and completion on the same day if possible. It would otherwise be extremely risky to commit to a financial transaction at this time.
  2. If a simultaneous exchange and completion is definitely not possible then bespoke provisions drafted around the completion date need to be agreed in the contract to allow for longer “on or before” and “long stop date” completion provisions with rescission provisions added should completion be in jeopardy because of the issues arising from coronavirus impacting upon the parties to the contract, connected professional parties, banks, service suppliers and ancillary unforeseen matters. Great care needs to be taken in the drafting of such bespoke provisions.
  3. If you have already exchanged, then you are legally committed to complete the transaction and our advice would be to speak to your conveyancer, your buyer and/or seller to decide upon a plan on how to move things forward. Sometimes addendums (variations) to the contract can be amicably agreed between the parties to incorporate such matters as delayed completion arrangements for example.
  4. Choose your legal representation very carefully and make sure your law firm has resilience plans.

The Law Society recently shared what they determined to be some new and perhaps unique issues that buyers and sellers may encounter and which may need to be factored into the legal documentations going forward and they include:

  • requests for properties to be decontaminated
  • refusal to vacate properties upon completion because of the new government restrictions
  • the chance of potential failure or disruption to parts of the banking system (such as CHAPS)
  • delays in local searches as a result of local authority staff absences

We understand that these are unusual time and so we strongly advise that you contact us to get the right information regarding your transactions. Also, consideration towards others will go a long way to help us all move things along smoothly and achieve our respective goals.

https://www.rightmove.co.uk/news/house-price-index/

https://hoa.org.uk/2020/03/buying-home-coronavirus/

Contact our experienced property solicitors today

IBB’s team of property law experts are based in Chesham, Buckinghamshire and support clients from all neighbouring areas. We can advise on all aspects of buying, selling and mortgaging property. For more information or advice on buying or selling a property, lease extensions, landlord legal services or any other property matter, please call us today on 01494 790013 or 01494 790071 or email conveyancing@ibblaw.co.uk .