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House move hiatus

For the many thousands of people who move to a new house each month, there is now much uncertainty with the emergency measures brought in to help tackle the spread of COVID-19 here in the UK.

Here is some advice to help guide you at this difficult time and our team at Gullands are here to help answer any legal questions about your house sale or purchase.

We have exchanged contracts, can we still complete?

Yes you can. You may want to consider discussing with the other parties in the chain deferring the completion date, (although this is far from straightforward) if one or more person in the chain is having to self-isolate or is in a vulnerable group advised to stay at home for the next 12 weeks. Our advice here is to get in touch asap with us to discuss any concerns you have.

I can’t get hold of my bank to find out where our mortgage offer is?

Banks are experiencing high demand at the moment and it may take longer to process some of the existing applications in the pipeline or to get in touch with them to discuss your application. Let the estate agents know if there are any delays and they will advise the other parties and keep everyone informed.

We are buying a property with cash and don’t need a mortgage; can we still move?

Yes you can still look for a property online and buy it without a mortgage but our advice would be to consider delaying exchanging contracts on any property until the emergency measures are removed.

We need to arrange a survey on a house we are buying, can we still do this?

At the moment surveyors cannot carry out any home surveys, even if a property is empty, so you will need to wait until the restriction on people movement is lifted.

Will I be able to move house on the day we complete?

If you have already exchanged contracts and booked a removal firm then your move should go ahead, if the company has enough staff to move you on the day. It could be that they will ask you to postpone your actual move until the end of the lockdown period, to minimise the risks to their staff, so it is best to keep in touch with them to find out the latest position. However, this could result in contractual issues between the parties to the transaction.

Our buyer has lost their income, should we put the house on the market again or wait until they get another job?

This is incredibly frustrating especially when both sides may have spent a considerable amount of money already. Our advice is to talk to both your agent and the other party to see if this is likely to be a temporary situation.