Buying and selling homes during this stay-at-home period

Buying and selling homes during this stay-at-home period

Following the recent Government guidance that has been in place following the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), parties involved in home moving are being urged to adapt and be flexible.

It is important to know that there is no need to pull out of transactions, but everyone needs to follow the current guidance to stay at home and away from others at all times, including the specific measures for those who are presenting symptoms.

Vacant Properties

Where the property being moved into is vacant, then you can continue with this transaction although you should follow any guidance on home removals and social distancing.

Occupied Properties

Where the property is occupied, parties are being encouraged to do all they can to amicably agree alternative dates to move, for a time when it is likely that stay-at-home measures will no longer be in place.  Extensions to existing contractual completion dates can be documented between the parties very easily.

Can my house move still go ahead?

In the new emergency enforcement powers that the police have been given to respond to coronavirus, there is an exemption for critical home moves, in the event that a new date is unable to be agreed.

If you have already exchanged contracts and the property is currently occupied then all parties should work together to agree a delay or another way to resolve this matter.

If moving is unavoidable for contractual reasons and the parties are unable to reach an agreement to delay, people must follow advice on staying away from others to minimise the spread of the virus.

All parties should prioritise agreeing amicable arrangements to change move dates for individuals in this group, or where someone in a chain is in this group.

To support people who have already exchanged contracts for house purchases and set dates for completion, all mortgage lenders are working to find ways to enable customers who have exchanged contracts to extend their mortgage offer for up to 3 months to enable them to move at a later date.

If your circumstances change during this 3 month period or the terms of the house purchase change significantly and continuing with the mortgage would cause house buyers to face financial hardship, lenders will work with customers to help them manage their finances as a matter of urgency.

You can read the detailed government guidance here.

If you have any questions about the current guidelines or would like advice regarding your property sale or purchase, you can speak to a member of our experienced residential conveyancing team by calling: 01904 624903

Rachel Butterfield