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Beviss and Beckingsale
Frances Griffiths

Moving House in a Health Crisis

Posted by Frances Griffiths on April 8th 2020 in MOVING HOUSE .

Many of our clients are extremely anxious about the situation relating to their home move or in the case of business clients, their acquisition or sale of businesses and business premises.

The Government’s advice is fairly clear. There is no need to pull out of transactions, but we all need to ensure that we are following guidance to stay at home and away from others at all times, including specific measures for those who are presenting symptoms, self-isolating or shielding. Prioritising the health of individuals and the public must be the priority to protect lives and the NHS.

There are various different transactions: -

  • Where, for example, the property being moved into is vacant, it is possible to continue with the transaction although the health guidance should be followed, particularly with regard to home removals. This, in itself may cause a problem as most of them, are no longer undertaking work
  • Where you are moving into a property which is currently occupied, the Government encourages all parties to look at trying to agree alternative dates to move or formulas which can be used to determine that date. We are spending many hours looking at various clauses put to us and drafted by us trying to find a way in which we can adequately protect our clients but also enable them to move when the crisis is over. This is an extremely difficult task which in each case has to be judged on its own merits
  • Where Contracts were exchanged prior to the lockdown commencing, and the completion date is coming up, we will try to negotiate altered arrangements for completion as indicated above and at that point, Contracts may need to be re-exchanged with the new provisions in place
  • Lenders are trying to accommodate the current difficulties by automatically extending the Mortgage Offers for those who have not yet exchanged contracts and completed, and extending Mortgage Offers for those who have exchanged but completion is going to be delayed. Again, each individual case needs to be looked at carefully with the lender involved and your mortgage broker to make sure that the necessary guidelines are being followed
  • In commercial transactions much work can still be done apart from the final move but lending criteria from banks may tighten leading to withdrawn mortgage offers. The practical difficulty of opening a business in such times and with adequate safety may be impossible to accomplish.

The advice of the Government is that home buyers and renters should, where possible, delay moving into a new house whilst measures are in place to fight the Virus. Their advice is that if you have already exchanged contracts and the property is currently occupied, then you should work together to agree a delay or another way to resolve matter. That could involve both parties walking away from the transaction and any deposit returned.

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

In line with the Governments advice, anyone with symptoms, self-isolating or shielding from the Virus should follow medical advice which would mean not moving house for the time being if at all possible. All parties should prioritise agreeing amicable arrangements to change move date for individuals in this group or where someone in a chain is in this group. This will affect those who are most vulnerable in the community.

If you have any queries regarding these guidelines, may we suggest that you contact either Mark Ollier meo@bevissandbeckingsale.co.uk or Frances Griffiths fg@bevissandbeckingsale.co.uk for further information