Legal implications around COVID-19 on property purchase and sales
Following the latest Government guidance - we answer some of the most frequently asked questions our residential property lawyers have received at this time.
What does the latest Government guidance on home moves mean?
The Government has now unlocked home moving in England with immediate effect (13 May 2020). This means that the following activities can now go ahead, as long as social distancing is practised and nobody involved in the move or any member of their household has experienced any coronavirus symptoms in the last 14 days:
- Moving House
- Removal services
- Property surveys and valuations
- Property viewings
- Show home openings
- New-build construction
Is there full information and guidance available on safe moving /safe viewings etc.?
What if I am shielding or considered vulnerable?
Those who are shielding or otherwise vulnerable should ensure that they are aware of the medical advice, including on staying at home and avoiding unnecessary contacts over this period, if at all possible.
Clinically vulnerable and shielded individuals will need to carefully consider their personal situation and the circumstances of their own move and may wish to seek medical advice before deciding whether to commit or go ahead with a move.
If you do fall into this category, we would encourage you to make your solicitor aware, so that we can provide you with suitable advice regarding your options.
I haven’t exchanged contracts yet – what can I do if someone in the chain pulls out if they become ill or suffer financial loss due to coronavirus?
The best thing to do is talk to your solicitor and estate agent to keep the chain moving whilst staying in the Government's Covid-19 guidelines.
Would communicating with other members in the chain help to progress and secure the purchase/sale?
I’ve already exchanged contracts – what happens if someone in the chain defaults?
If agreement cannot be reached, then a 10 working day notice can be served which opens up further options. You can speak to your solicitor for advice on this.
I’ve exchanged contracts – but what if I (or a family member) becomes ill or my financial situation changes and I need to default or try to pull out?
Your solicitor could look to try and negotiate a release from the contract or a suggest a delay to avoid any forfeiture of deposits.
Time only becomes a problem if one of the parties in the chain serves a 10 working day notice.
PLEASE NOTE: this information was correct at the time of publishing 13 May 2020
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