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Coronavirus - Advice for people moving home
As you may have seen in the press, there is a lot of uncertainty and speculation as to whether or not people can now move home. The Government introduced new regulations yesterday which provides some clarity on this issue (the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) England Regulations 2020). A link to the Government's advice can be found here and we hope that you will find this useful:
The law states that during the emergency period, no one may leave the place where they are living without reasonable excuse. This general ban on movement is subject to the much publicised exemptions which the Prime Minister set out on Monday, but the law specifically allows people to move to a new house where reasonably necessary. The law also states that more than two people can gather together for the purposes of moving house.
Clearly if you or the other parties in the chain are socially isolating or being shielded you must try to delay and we would ask you to inform us if, at any time, this is the case. Social distancing and all other government guidance should be followed when moving house. We would stress that it has to be your decision as to whether you should move house and if it is reasonably necessary to do so. In all these circumstances, we will do what we can to assist you in continuing to look at pragmatic solutions that suit your individual requirements, when you are ready to do so.
Where contracts have been exchanged, if the property which a party is moving into is occupied, the parties should seek to agree to postpone completion; however, we recognise that if the parties fail to agree, then there may be no alternative but to complete - failure to do so would result in a breach of contract by the person who refused to move and would result in financial detriment. The defaulting party would have to pay financial compensation to the other party to the contract and possibly to the other parties in the chain. We can try to assist you by seeking to delay completion with the consent of the other parties involved in the transaction and we understand that the Government are calling on mortgage lenders to extend offers to assist buyers. This will be assessed on a case by case basis, where applicable.
Where the property being moved into is vacant, then you can continue with that transaction although you should follow the Government guidance about home removals and you may encounter difficulties with obtaining removals and deliveries at the present time, so do please check availability before instructing us to exchange.
Where contracts have not yet been exchanged, we can continue to progress matters in the interim period with our staff working remotely and there is no need to withdraw from a transaction unless you wish to do so or you feel that your own circumstances have changed.
If the property you are purchasing is currently occupied, the Government has recommended 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. In order to protect our clients, we have included a clause in all of our contracts to deal with such measures.
At Bright & Sons Solicitors we remain committed to helping all of our clients and supporting other property professionals within the industry. We look at each property transaction as an individual one, recognising that every person has their own needs. If you have any doubts or uncertainties, please do discuss matters with the fee earner dealing with your house move so that we can see how we can assist you to try achieve the best possible outcome.