Moving house is one of the most stressful times in your life, but what about moving house in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic?
As you know, the Government advice to tackle the COVID-19 virus is to stay at home and only leave for outlined essential reasons. The result of this is that for the vast majority of transactions it will no longer be possible to move house whilst these movement restrictions are in place.
We advise our clients not to agree to any completion dates or exchange contracts on any transactions until we can be certain that by doing so they will not be placing themselves in a position where they are contractually bound to move house but in doing so would put them in breach of the Government restrictions.
However, there are some situations where we can exchange and complete transactions but, as they may require leaving your home, these situations will be limited and dependent upon the specifics of each individual case.
We understand that moving house is stressful and the current situation will only heighten this, but the guidance we have given is for the benefit and protection of our clients.
Below, we have answered some ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ on Conveyancing at this current time:
I have already exchanged contracts and I have a completion date – what should I do?
We are currently identifying all exchanged transactions and a member of our team will contact those clients. Although you have legally committed to complete and would be at risk of breaching your contract, it’s quite possible to vary the contract if all parties are in agreement to do so.
We will contact the other Solicitors representing the other parties in the transaction to discuss postponing moving arrangements to a mutually agreed date when the restrictions have been lifted.
If one of the parties refuses to agree to this then a failure to complete the transaction would be in breach of contract. If parties refuse to delay completion we would provide advice dependent on the Government guidance at that time.
We appreciate that this does not provide any immediate assurances for our clients, but we will continue to provide advice for clients as and when the guidance changes or where further guidance is released.
What about signing documents and dealing with queries – will you be available?
As we are in a period where are staff are working remotely, where possible, documents will be either e-mailed or posted out to you for signature and we will assess each transaction based upon each Client’s individual circumstances.
If you do have any queries that you need to discuss with your Conveyancer, these can continue to be addressed over the phone or by email, whether it be a legal query or you’re just needing some reassurance … we are here to help.
Will conveyancers and removals firms be operating?
The Conveyancing Association is seeking ‘urgent guidance’ from the Government as to whether moving house is deemed ‘essential’ under the new regulations, however this has not been clarified.
Removal companies have been urged to complete any existing removal jobs and cancel any in the future. However the decision lays with the individual companies if they wish to proceed with work and how they choose to follow the new Government requirements.
Are estate agents still open?
Along with other shops deemed ‘non-essential’ under the new rules, high street estate agents must close their doors. However, most firms are continuing to operate remotely.
These are unprecedented times that we all now find ourselves in, but importantly we are all going through this together. Please know that Howells are still functioning, but with a service that has had to be adapted so as to accord with Government guidelines. At this time all communication will be via telephone or email. We kindly ask that you please be patient at this difficult time, and we are sure we will all get through this together.
If you have any questions please call us on the number your case worker has provided to you, or use one of our main office contacts below:
Sheffield: 0114 249 66 66
Barnsley: 0122 680 51 90
Rotherham: 0170 936 40 00
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