COVID-19: moving house

As you may of heard, the government has now issued guidance for people buying and selling homes during the COVID-19 period. There are various elements to the guidance with sections aimed at estate agents, conveyancers, surveyors and removal firms.

The long and short of it is, that “there is no need to pull out of transactions, but we all need to ensure we are following guidance to stay at home and away from others at all times, including the specific measures for those who are presenting symptoms, self-isolating or shielding“.

It might be the case that in some situations moving house may not be possible. That being said, where the property being purchased is vacant, the parties may continue with the transaction. Where the property being moved into is currently occupied, where possible the parties are being encouraged to delay the move until the stay-at-home measures are lifted.

Viewings of properties in person should not take place. However, clearly, work that can be undertaken remotely (as much of it can be now) can proceed, but the guidance says inspections to take internal photographs or produce an energy performance certificate should not be undertaken. Clearly this may hinder new properties being marketed.

Whilst it is not the case that parties cannot exchange contracts, the guidance does say conveyancers should advise clients not to exchange contracts on an occupied property unless the contract contains express provisions for the risks presented by COVID-19.

If a contract is due to complete, and there is no option to delay, the transaction may still complete.

The current government guidance on moving house during the Covid-19 outbreak can be found here.

The residential conveyancing team at Scott Bailey are well prepared, still taking on new matters, and are continuing to progress sales and purchases for clients. For more information and assistance with your residential, or commercial, sale or purchase, please contact us.