David Walton


DATE PUBLISHED: 30 Mar 2020 LAST UPDATED: 13 Apr 2022

Buying or Selling a House during the Stay-at-Home Period

Given the current situation with the UK in lockdown to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Government released new guidelines on 26th March which applies to people buying or selling private residential homes intended to live in.

The Government have made it clear that there is no need to pull out of transactions, but to ensure you are following guidance staying at home and away from others, especially those that are self isolating with symptoms. They have also urged parties to adapt and be flexible to changes to the normal processes.

What do I do if my new property is currently vacant?

Where a property is vacant, then you can continue with this transaction although you should follow the guidance here regarding home removals. Individuals should also follow mortgage agreement advice released by the government below.

What do I do if my new property is currently occupied?

If your new property is in a chain with people currently living in the property, the Government guidance is encouraging all parties to do all they can to amicably agree alternative dates to move, for a time when it is likely that stay-at-home measures against Coronavirus (COVID-19) will no longer be in place. Individuals should also follow mortgage agreement advice released by the government below.

What do I do about my Mortgage Offer?

The Government released the below information on 26th March regarding mortgage agreements, more information can be found here.

“What if an extension goes beyond the terms of a
mortgage agreement?

UK Finance have today confirmed that, to support customers who have already exchanged contracts for house purchases and set dates for completion, all mortgage lenders are working to find ways to enable customers who have exchanged contracts to extend their mortgage offer for up to three months to enable them to move at a later date.

If a customer’s circumstances change during this three month period or the terms of the house purchase change significantly and continuing with the mortgage would cause house buyers to face financial hardship, lenders will work with customers to help them manage their finances as a matter of urgency.”

In summary, if an individual has not yet exchanged on a property, prior to exchanging contracts they are urged to contact their mortgage lender/broker to discuss whether or not their mortgage offer needs to be extended, and ensure their offer remains valid to safely exchange contracts.

It should also be noted that due to the current situation local authorities may see a significant delay in completing searches and there may be limitations when using removal companies, read more on the Government guidance here.

The Government have mentioned that there would be an exemption for critical home moves, in the event that a new date is unable to be agreed. However we have not yet had clarification on this point, in addition there has not been any information released regarding key workers. In this rapidly changing situation we will update this blog with further information when new guidance is released.

We understand that this is going to be a stressful time for individuals currently in the process of buying or selling a property. If you have any questions please feel free to contact a member of our expert Conveyancing team on 01202 525333 or email conveyancingdept@ellisjones.co.uk.

Read detailed government guidance here

How can we help?

When you submit this form an email will be sent to the relevant department who will contact you within 48 hours. If you require urgent advice please call 01202 525333.

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