As you may have seen, the Prime Minister addressed the nation and informed people of the next necessary steps in the fight against the Coronavirus.
If you have not already seen this, the direction from the government is that people must now stay at home and can only leave for specific reasons:
· Shopping for basic necessities, such as food and medicine, as infrequently as possible;
· One form of exercise a day- for example a run, walk, or cycle, alone or with members of their household;
· Any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person;
· Travelling to and from work, but only where it is necessary and cannot be done from home.
The result of these directions is that it will no longer be possible to move house whilst these restrictions are in place. For this reason, we have taken a policy decision not to agree any completion dates or exchange contracts on any impending transactions until we can be certain that by doing so we will not be placing our clients in a position whereby they are contractually bound to move house but cannot do so due to restrictions on movement.
There is no need to pull out of transactions, but we all need to ensure we are following guidance to stay at home and away from others at all times, including the specific measures for those who are presenting symptoms, self-isolating or shielding. Prioritising the health of individuals and the public must be the priority.
There will be some scenarios in which we can exchange and complete transactions, for instance where a vacant property is being bought by an investor, and subject to compliance with obligations to mortgage lenders we will consider such transactions on their own merits. Many of these transactions would not involve the movement of people so we expect these instances to be rare.
Moving house can be stressful and the current situation will only heighten this but the decisions we have taken as a firm have been taken for the benefit and protection of our clients. We will of course monitor the situation closely and provide you with any updates as soon as we can.
In the first instance if you need any advice from us or have any concerns, please either email or call your usual contact.