How Covid-19 could affect your property sale or purchase
– our advice for clients

woman with cleaning products

Ridiculous observations about Peroni Virus aside, there are some things we all need to consider in relation to Covid-19 and whether it will impact your conveyancing transaction.

You may well be worried about whether the WHO-declared pandemic will impact on your sale or purchase, and I’m afraid it’s reasonable to think that it might. Here’s our advice about what you can do and what we are doing to try to keep things moving along as smoothly as possible.

The risks

According to the latest press release by the Law Society, issues that have been raised with the profession include:

  • Requests for properties to be decontaminated before completion
  • Refusal to vacate on completion because the seller is in isolation
  • Disruption to the banking system
  • Difficulty obtaining personal search results
  • Reluctance on the part of removal companies to enter properties
  • Difficulty in obtaining witnesses to documents
  • Obtaining surveys and mortgage valuations

Things we’re doing

One of the main risks is that clients might find themselves inadvertently in breach of a contract which stipulates a date for completion; this could happen if you are forced to self-isolate for example. We are working on the best way to protect clients from this risk and will speak to you about your individual circumstances at the appropriate point.

If you require additional drafting to your contracts to try to allow for delayed completions on the basis of Covid-19 we will do our best to accommodate your needs. This will be done at no extra cost to you, but will require pragmatism by everyone involved and will have no guarantee of success as we are presently working in uncharted waters.

Our clients won’t be exposed to the risk of not being able to get hold of personal search results (as raised with the Law Society) as we always use full searches (which are done centrally by the authorities rather than by individuals going to the authorities to check their records in person.

We are also happy to offer meetings by phone or video if you’d prefer not to come to the office, or for us not to come to see you.

Of course, we’re also all following sensible advice about social distancing, hand hygiene, and generally taking precautions to protect ourselves from the risks of picking up any nasties. As NLL is built on a flexible working model with team members based all over the country, we’re confident our technology can cope if everyone has to work from home, and our service to you should continue with the minimum of disruption.

Things you can do

There are still a great many unknown unknowns in the current situation, but there are some practical steps you can take:

  • Don’t agree completion dates with other parties in the chain. This is good advice pandemic or no pandemic. We all like a date to aim for, but in reality there are so many things that could cause a delay (or speed things up) in a property transaction that talking about dates is really a waste of time. See our previous blog about the myth of Friday completions here
  • Limit visits to the property to “measure up”.  We can provide a checklist (click here) to allow your property visits to be as productive as possible
  • Understand that things may take longer than you (or we) would want, and that the reason for this is likely to be out of everyone’s hands. This isn’t an excuse for us to slack off, but the reality of what might happen if, for example, the banking system grinds to a halt
  • Follow current health advice from trustworthy sources like the NHS

If you have any questions about how best to manage your conveyancing transaction then please give us a call on 01937 326006 or send an email to hello@landandlaw.co.uk