Clarity on home moving during Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic


March 27, 2020 | By Sarah Cookson |

March 27, 2020 | By Sarah Cookson |

In the wake of yesterday’s government guidance on moving house during the coronavirus outbreak, here is a summary of the main implications if you are buying or selling a house at this time.

The current government advice at 27 March is to delay moving to avoid breaking social distancing rules and restrictions on movement. Our conveyancing department will continue to support the sales process as far as possible and we are ensuring that our clients are aware of the practical difficulties of completing transactions during this period.

Unoccupied properties

If you’re proceeding with the purchase of an unoccupied property, including new build transactions, we can support the transaction as far as possible.

You must ensure that social distancing is adhered to when moving into the property. You may also experience difficulties with the physical aspect of moving, due to reduced number of removal firms in operation.

Advice if you are due to complete

The government is asking buyers and sellers to adapt and be flexible. We will make every effort to support clients who are due to complete on occupied properties in this stay-at-home period to change the date of completion.

Ready to move?

We are advising clients who are ready to move to not exchange contracts on an occupied property, unless they have made explicit provision for the risks presented by the virus.

Recently exchanged?

If you have recently exchanged contracts and the property is occupied, then buyers and sellers should work together to agree a delay. If moving is unavoidable for contractual reasons, people must adhere to staying away from others to minimise the risk of spreading the virus.

Buyers presenting symptoms

We will prioritise our conveyancing support for anyone with symptoms, self-isolating or shielding from the virus and those they are in a chain with. We will urge them to do all they can to help a new date to be agreed, as recommended by the government.

Critical home moves

We will work closely with both parties involved to facilitate postponing moves. However, if a house move is unavoidable or if parties are unable to reach a flexible agreement, we will continue to support the sales process as far as possible whilst ensuring clients understand the difficulties of completing transactions at this time.

Mortgage offers

The government has agreed with banks that mortgage offers should be extended. This is something we urge customers to liaise directly with their mortgage provider.

Our support

Whilst it is deeply frustrating that physical house moves cannot go ahead as anticipated, it is important that we adhere to the government’s advice to avoid breaking social distancing rules at this time. We are making every effort to support clients who are due to complete on house sales and purchases whilst following government guidance.

We fully appreciate that there are many intricacies and factors at play when moving – no house move is the same – and so it’s even more important now that our clients keep in regular contact with us to inform us of any changes so that we can guide them through the process as far as possible. Offers for homes can still be accepted and there is no need to pull out of existing transactions – we can help facilitate a delay in the process.

Our conveyancing department remains fully operational with solicitors and support staff working remotely, away from the high street offices. Our teams are in regular contact with each other and with clients to share advice and information.

If you’re seeking advice on moving house during this period of change, our conveyancing team, you can call our conveyancing team on 0800 138 0458 or contact them through the website.

Sarah Cookson

Sarah is a solicitor and director of Switalskis with responsibility for our conveyancing department across all of our offices. She has worked in conveyancing since 1999, qualifying as a solicitor in 2004. Sarah's profile

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