Conveyancing and Coronavirus FAQ’sOur residential property solicitor, Sarah Turner, has answered some of your burning questions about property transfer and how it may be affected by the UK’s lockdown due to Covid-19.
For the most part, your property transfer will be completely unaffected by the current situation and this is thanks to the incredible technological reach that is readily available. We are all working hard from our remote settings so that the administrative and paperwork side to the completion is undertaken in the exact same manner as it would usually have been.
- Will the speed of my house sale/ purchase be affected by the lockdown?
It is likely that the length of a transaction may vary from the usual 6 to 8 weeks that we would usually quote to allow for an adjustment period, while people adapt to the current situation we are in. However, once people have adjusted to home working we will be in a better position to advise on this. Rest assured that we have seamlessly transitioned to home working and the nature of the way we work meant that we could do this very easily. We can say with confidence that our service will be just as efficient if not more efficient than ever.
- What happens if the seller refuses to leave the property due to self-isolation?
This is a valid point. With the constant changes to public policy regarding the containment of the virus it is possible that the seller will not feel ready or safe to leave their property. However, there is no need to worry if this happens as we can work together to vary the contract. If both parties are in agreement, it is possible to extend the completion date and with no interest being claimed for late completion.
- Can properties still be viewed?
Indeed they can. I can confirm that we have been in contact with many estate agents and they assured us that they are and will continue to offer virtual viewings on property. If there is a specific property or issue relating to this then please do not hesitate to get in touch and I am sure we can resolve it.
- How will the exchanging of contracts and completion dates be affected?
We think that it is best that exchange and completion takes place on the same day. This is so that there is no contractual obligation to move until you know on the day that you physically can move. If you have already exchanged and are affected by the virus, then the terms of the contract can be varied as mentioned above. Due to the constantly shifting situation with the spread and containment of the virus, there is a degree of flexibility around this and I am sure that we can work out the best way to move forward with this together.
- How can contracts be signed in a time of social distancing and self-isolation?
The best solution for this is to give authority to your solicitor for them to sign the contract on your behalf. We are currently communicating with other solicitors in a similar situation to work out how this will work where the seller/buyer needs to sign the transfer. We will continue to seek a solution for this and update you accordingly. Of course, one option that we are pursuing is the ability to email documents and then have the signed originals posted back to us. However, we see that there still may be difficulty with this and so we will keep working with other conveyancing teams to find the best method for everyone. The Land Registry is yet to issue guidance on this.
If you have any further questions regarding conveyancing and what it means for you then please do not hesitate to get in touch with Sarah on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07881 106908 who is always happy to help.
Chartered Legal Executive
Sarah is an expert in all matters relating to residential conveyancing and has over 21 years’ experience. She prides herself on providing a personable and attentive service and understands the nuances of the Bristol property market.