Moving Home during the coronavirus pandemic

Moving home can be a stressful time under any circumstances but home-movers are now having to deal with the added complications of the restrictions imposed in the fight against coronavirus (COVID-19).

Is Rutherfords open for business?

Rutherfords LLP are very much open for business during this time and whilst our office is closed, our enhanced IT systems mean that our staff can continue working from home. 

We are contactable by calling the main office number or by email. 

We aim to deliver the same level of service as always and are here to support you during these trying and uncertain times.

Can you still buy or sell a house?

Government advice states that the buying and selling process can continue during this period but you must be aware that it may take longer than usual.

If you are thinking of putting your property on the market then you should use this time to collate all the information you will need to sell the property.  

Due to Government advice to stay at home, you should not invite Energy Performance assessors or Property Agents into your home for a market appraisal or take internal photographs. 

If your home is already on the market you can continue to advertise it but you should not allow people into your home to view it.  You can accept offers during this time.  Your Estate Agent may have closed the office, but they are likely to be working from home and can continue to support you and offer guidance.

What if I have started the transaction?

Where your property transaction is already under way, we will continue to progress your matter for you. 

Government guidance states that completions on unoccupied properties can go ahead and we have been able to proceed in other matters such as Remortgages, Transfers of Equity, Purchase of Freeholds and transactions where the purchaser is already resident at the property they are purchasing.

If the property you are selling or purchasing is occupied or in a chain, Government guidance is to defer the completion date until such a time as the current restrictions are lifted.  In this case, we will work with all parties to come to an amicable agreement about exchange and completion dates.

What steps can be taken to minimise risk?

In the event that completion must take place then steps should be taken to minimise the risks imposed by COVID-19. 

We have taken the approach, as many solicitors have, to proceed only on the basis of exchange and completion on the same day. 

We believe that this leaves our clients less vulnerable to a breach of Contract which could occur due to non-completion on the date specified in the Contract because either:

  • The client or a member of the chain have had to go into isolation.  If you show symptoms of COVID-19 you should not leave your home, which will prevent parties in the chain from physically moving.
  • Difficulties are encountered in securing removal companies/van hire.  Advice to removal companies is to honour existing Contracts but many are not taking bookings until the restrictions are lifted.
  • Problems may occur at a firm of solicitors in the chain due to staff shortages, the case handler may go into isolation or the solicitors may not be able to complete the transaction remotely.
  • Problems arising from suspension/closure of the whole or parts of UK banking system.
  • On moving day it is important that Government guidelines are followed and people maintain the 2 metre distance and hands are washed with soap and water for 20 seconds or hand sanitiser gel is used regularly. 
  • Nobody should be assisting with the move if they show symptoms of COVID-19, however mild.

If you have any queries or questions regarding the sale or purchase process during these unprecedented times then please do not hesitate to contact our Head of Department, Amanda Edwards at [email protected] or 01827 311411.

Amanda Edwards is a partner with Rutherfords LLP

Contact us on: 01827 311 411 or [email protected]