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Buying and selling during the coronavirus pandemic

*This blog has been updated since first being published - last updated 27th March 2020*

As the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes our everyday lives, questions arise relating to buying and selling properties during these challenging circumstances.

Under new government guidance issued on Monday 23rd March 2020, in order to slow the spread of COVID-19, for the next three weeks the UK is effectively in ‘lockdown’. Under the guidelines, you should only leave home for essential shopping, medical needs, exercise once per day or to travel to or from work if necessary.

But what does this mean if you’re already buying and/or selling or if you’re thinking about buying and/or selling in the near future?

Can I instruct you to handle my property sale and/or purchase whilst the UK is in lockdown? 

Yes, absolutely. You can contact us over the phone (0113 264 4414) to discuss a quote and instruct us. You can also obtain a quote on our website and instruct us online.

What is happening with my property sale and/or purchase during the current coronavirus outbreak?

Our team is working remotely so your conveyancer is progressing your sale and/or purchase as usual. We have contingency plans in place to ensure our high standard of service is not affected by the pandemic.

Please be mindful that there may be delays caused by external factors, such as longer processing times for surveys, searches and reports, and staffing issues at third party organisations including the Land Registry and other solicitors.

We will progress your case as far as possible, taking into consideration the government guidelines and your specific circumstances.

If you’re purchasing a property, please keep in mind your mortgage offer expiry date, as this may affect your ability to exchange or complete in the future.

Can I exchange contracts during lockdown?

It is possible to exchange contracts and we will advise you on a case-by-case basis. In some circumstances it may be advisable to wait until after lockdown, however your conveyancer will discuss this with you.

Can I complete on a property purchase/sale during lockdown?

It is possible to complete on your property purchase/sale and we will advise you on a case-by-case basis, whilst taking into consideration the government’s guidance. Please contact our team for further advice.

Update (27th March 2020): The government is encouraging buyers and sellers to delay moving where possible. Those moving into unoccupied properties can continue with their transaction if they adhere to guidance on social distancing. If contracts have already been exchanged, the government is encouraging parties to be flexible and agree alternative moving dates for when the current ‘lockdown’ measures have been lifted. If moves must go ahead due to contractual reasons, all parties must follow guidance on removals and social distancing.

What happens if I fall ill with coronavirus and am unable to complete?

If you have exchanged contracts but subsequently fall ill with the coronavirus and are unable to move home, you are subject to penalties under the terms of your contract. It is hoped that home movers will not seek to enforce these penalties during the current circumstances, but this cannot be guaranteed. If you have exchanged contracts already and are due to complete, please contact your conveyancer to discuss the best way to proceed.

How can I contact you?

Please contact our conveyancing team by calling 0113 264 4414 or emailing conveyancing@emsleys.co.uk and a member of our team will be more than happy to help.

Update (27th March 2020): The government has issued further detailed advice for home movers during the current period of lockdown – click here for more details.

The situation is likely to change as new announcements are made by the government. This information is correct as at 25th March 2020 and we will endeavour to keep this blog updated as circumstances change, so please check back. Please call us on 0113 264 4414 or email conveyancing@emsleys.co.uk for further advice.

Adam Dawson

Written by

Adam Dawson

Associate Director

Adam is an Associate Director. He qualified as a Solicitor in 2012 and specialises in all aspects of residential conveyancing including freehold and leasehold sales and purchases, auction purchases, re-mortgages, transfers of equity, shared ownership and grants of new leases. Adam also supports the development of our...

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