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Your move

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The impact of coronavirus on residential property is likely to last for some time, with the situation evolving over the course of months or years.

If you have exchanged contracts

For people who have exchanged contracts and are due to complete a transaction while the stay-at-home measures are in place, the Government has issued the following advice:

  • Home buyers and renters should, where possible, delay moving to a new house while measures are in place to fight coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • Our advice is that 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.
  • In line with Government’s advice, anyone with symptoms, self-isolating or shielding from the virus, should follow medical advice which will mean not moving house for the time being, if at all possible. 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.

In response, the UK Finance – the representative body for the banking industry – has said that all mortgage lenders are looking to enable borrowers who have already exchanged contracts to extend their mortgage offer for up to three months so the move can be delayed.

If your circumstances or the terms of the purchase change significantly during this time and continuing with the mortgage would cause financial hardship, UK Finance has said that your lender will work with you to help you manage your finances.

If you are yet to exchange contracts

The Government has issued the following advice to people who have agree a sale in principle, but who are yet to exchange contacts:

  • If the property you are purchasing is unoccupied you can continue with the transaction.
  • If the property you are purchasing is currently occupied, we recommend that all parties should work to either delay the exchange of contracts until after the period where stay-at-home measures to fight coronavirus (COVID-19) are in place, or include explicit contractual provisions to take account of the risks presented by the virus.

The full Government guidance is available here.

The Government had already introduced new emergency legislation, including mortgage holidays for regular homeowners and buy-to-let landlords and a temporary three month ban on evictions due to rent arrears for those affected by the economic impact of Coronavirus.

Our experienced team of residential property lawyers is on hand to help with any issues that may arise in the weeks and months to come.

Contact us now for specialist advice, tailored to your circumstances.