COVID-19 and conveyancing transactions

The Law Society has published an article containing guidance on comments made by a government spokesperson on 25 March that “buyers and renters should, as far as possible, delay moving to a new house while emergency measures are in place to fight coronavirus”.

Currently, there is nothing to prevent conveyancing transactions from proceeding however it is acknowledged that the conveyancing process in the current climate is likely to present many difficulties for buyers and sellers.

Government guidance and public health guidelines will need to be adhered to, which include properties not being occupied with cases of COVID-19, occupants not being in self-isolation etc. Such barriers may make it difficult to proceed with selling or buying a house whilst the current government guidelines are in place. For empty residential properties and commercial properties, such hurdles may be easier to overcome.

The Law Society hopes the government will produce official guidance on these issues in the coming days. Those who wish to proceed with their transactions but are concerned as to their ability to do so owing to COVID-19 (including arranging removals etc.) should carefully consider whether to include a clause in the sale contract which specifically addresses the impact of COVID-19 in order to avoid incurring additional costs and other potential liabilities if, as a result of COVID-19, they are unable to complete on the contractual completion date.

The current situation is unprecedented and no doubt additional challenges and hurdles will continue to arise in the coming days and weeks. We will update the above and publish further information as and when it is available.

Posted on: 27/03/2020

This article is for general guidance only. It provides useful information in a concise form. Action should not be taken without obtaining specific legal advice.

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