May 1st 2020

The Property department are still working and contactable as normal whilst continuing to follow Public Health England’s guidance. We have noticed some disruption to conveyancing transactions in the current COVID-19 pandemic, however we are trying to work around these causing as minimal stress to our clients.

The conveyancing directors are following the government updates and guidance issued to best assist their clients with their property transactions.

The government have issued guidance in relation to conveyancing transactions and if they should proceed.

The government have advised that only moves into unoccupied properties should continue and that the health of individuals and the public must be the main priority.

In conveyancing if contracts are exchanged you are legally obliged to leave the property at the said time and date contained within the contract, unless an agreement can be made to vary the contract. This means that if contracts are exchanged and you are unable to move, due to illness or cancellation of your removal company etc., you would be in breach of contract. If you are found to be in breach of contract you could be liable for the costs of the delay and interest that have been incurred throughout the chain.

We are currently not recommending that anyone exchanges contracts on a property. Instead, providing that there is no chain and the property is vacant we are suggesting that exchange takes place on the day of completion. This is called a ‘simultaneous exchange and completion’. A simultaneous exchange and completion means that although a date has been agreed in principle from the chain and usually arrangements have been made such as mortgage monies being requested there is no legal obligation to complete on this day. On the day of completion all parties will confirm they are happy to complete and exchange and completion will then happen at the same time.

Simultaneous exchange and completion limits the risk, as you would not be in breach of contract should you need to self isolate or delay completion for any other reason.

If you have any questions or concerns then please do get in touch on 0117 973 1391.