We have been asked this question many times since Boris Johnson’s lockdown announcement on Monday evening and, as many of you will know, Michael Gove MP was also asked this question on BBC Breakfast yesterday.
Unfortunately his answer was not entirely clear and suggested that those who have already exchanged contracts can continue to complete their sales and purchases but that otherwise “if possible, people should stay in their current homes.” This seems to suggest that if you have not already exchanged contracts then you should put any proposed sales and purchases on hold until either the Government issues further clarification or relaxes the current lockdown rules.
In addition to the uncertainty regarding the lockdown rules you may experience practical difficulties if you try moving at the current time as some removal companies are no longer accepting bookings and others are going so far as to cancel bookings they have already taken. Looking at the website of removals company Bishops Move this morning, they report that the British Association of Removers has recommended that removal companies should only complete moves that are underway. Bishops Move have decided to follow that advice and will not be undertaking any further house moves at the current time.
You may also have read in the press this morning that some mortgage lenders are delaying issuing mortgage offers and are reducing the number of mortgages available as a result of their concerns about a potential recession. In addition people are experiencing problems arranging mortgage valuations as a result of the current lockdown. We had one completion yesterday where there were problems transferring the completion monies as the bank involved processes payments in India which is now also in lockdown and it appears that the bank had no contingency plan in place to continue processing payments.
For the time being our advice if you haven’t already exchanged contracts is to put any moving plans on hold pending either further guidance from the Government or a relaxation of the current lockdown rules.
For an update on all the legal implications relating to Coronavirus please see here.
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