The good news

Naturally with the focus on the health and safety of everyone involved in a chain, all parties are being advised to be flexible and ready to adapt to change as the crisis develops. The Government is working with conveyancers to develop a new process for changing completion dates if required and agreeing with banks that mortgage offers should be extended if delays are inevitable.

For purchasers who are in the process of buying a new Highwood home at North Stoneham Park, for example, whether you’ve exchanged contracts or not, there is welcome news from the Government that states ‘Where the property being moved into is vacant, then you can continue with this transaction although you should follow the guidance in this document on home removals.’

Other key advice

  • If you’ve exchanged contracts and your new home is occupied, work with your vendor to agree a delay or workaround.
  • If you’re self-isolating or have symptoms, don’t move house if at all possible.
  • If moving is unavoidable for contractual reasons and you can’t delay, follow the Government’s advice on keeping your distance from others to minimise the spread of the virus.
  • If you’re not yet on the market, speak to estate agents on the phone for advice, but do not allow visitors into your home.
  • If you’re on the market, your home can still be advertised for sales, but you can’t allow viewings.
  • You can negotiate and accept offers, but bear in mind the process may take longer than usual.
  • If you’re ready to exchange and your new home is unoccupied, you can continue with the transaction subject to build stage on a new-build property.
  • If you’re ready to exchange and your new home is occupied, you should work to either delay exchange or take advice from your conveyancer to include new contractual provisions that cover consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Other professionals in the chain

Solicitors and conveyancers ‘should continue to support the sales process as far as possible and should make sure their clients are aware of the difficulties of completing transactions in this period… [and] continue to support the sales of unoccupied properties as far as possible’.

Estate agents should support their clients and work with them to ‘broker a new date to move where sales are due to complete on occupied properties in the current period where emergency measures are in place to fight coronavirus (COVID-19)’.

Removals firms and surveyors should all be following the latest Government guidance (26 March 2020) that states ‘work carried out in people’s homes can continue, provided the tradesperson is well and has no symptoms or coronavirus (COVID-19)’. Safe distancing advice should always be followed.

More information

Full Government guidance can be found on the website here.

Information from the Home Builders Federation can be accessed here.

Full coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance from Public Health England can be found here

Help for our homebuyers

If you are currently in the process of buying a new Highwood home at North Stoneham Park and have any questions or concerns, please contact us on 023 8001 1620.