Our response to government advice for home movers

Our response to government advice for home movers

27 March 2020

These are incredibly unsettling times, and it is of upmost importance to us that we keep our customers informed of all the very latest updates. In particular, with regards to recent news stories addressing the housing market and advice from Government ministers.

David Lench, our Group Managing Director, gives this advice:

“The most important piece of advice from the Government’s recent guidance on buying and selling is that: ‘there is no need to pull out of transactions.’”

This is backed up by banks extending mortgage offers by up to three months to allow existing purchasers to go ahead when the Coronavirus restrictions are lifted. 

Should an individual’s circumstances change during this extended period, and if continuing with their mortgage would result in financial hardship, then they are advised to immediately speak to their lender who will do all they can to help. 

Where a property being moved into is vacant, the transaction can continue although all the safety guidance must be applied on the moving day.

If the property is currently occupied, all parties must agree to extended dates for completion when government restrictions are lifted. 

If, however, moving is unavoidable for contractual reasons and the buyers and sellers are unable to reach an agreement to delay, everyone involved must follow the rules over social distancing on completion day. 

There is a special exemption for critical home moves.  There is no definition of this, but an example is likely to be an NHS worker moving into an empty flat to be nearer to their hospital.

If someone has COVID-19 or is presently self-isolating, then the move must be put on hold.  In such circumstances we would be confident that everyone involved in the transaction would agree to a delay in the completion date. 

If you are thinking of selling your home you will be unable to arrange for it to be actively marketed as no agent is allowed to visit your home to write up the details, take photos and viewings aren’t permitted.  So use this time to speak to your agent as they should be able to give you a reasonably accurate idea of the value from their local knowledge and they can advise you as to how to get your home ready to market when we all return to some form of normality. 

You can still make offers on properties you have viewed before the new restrictions and for conveyancers to be instructed on new sales.  However, you will need to be realistic regarding timescales to move.”