Conveyancing market stakeholders produce industry guidance for firms during Coronavirus crisis

publication date: Mar 30, 2020
 | 
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books

Conveyancing market stakeholders produce industry guidance for firms
during Coronavirus crisis

 

Legal industry experts in England and Wales have worked tirelessly over the weekend to produce guidance on how conveyancing/legal firms advise buyers and sellers to delay their move during the crisis.


The guidance has been prepared by a group which includes the Law Society, the Society of Licensed Conveyancers (SLC), the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives, Bold Legal Group and the Conveyancing Association (CA), and has the support of Government departments including HM Land Registry.

The guidance is to help legal people advise buyers and sellers to meet the latest Government Regulations and Guidance on home moving, in particular:

  • Home buyers and renters should, where possible, delay moving to a new house while measures are in place to fight Coronavirus and in accordance with Government guidance.
  • If the buyer or seller has already exchanged contracts, and the property is currently occupied, then all parties should work together to agree a delay or another way to resolve this matter.
  • If moving is unavoidable for contractual reasons and the parties are unable to reach an agreement to delay, people must follow advice on staying away from others to minimise the spread of the virus.


Please note that if there is someone in the chain that is particularly vulnerable and has been asked to self-isolate for 12 weeks or are suffering from Coronavirus, buyers, sellers and legal people should be kind and whatever the contractual obligations do everything they can to delay the move.

This additional Guidance covers four key areas:

  1. Amending existing contracts.
  2. Advice for clients who have already exchanged contracts.
  3. Advice for clients who have not yet exchanged contracts.
  4. Advice for clients who have to move during the current restrictive period.


In terms of amending existing contracts, the stakeholder group has worked together and agreed a draft clause and the process for firms to follow when varying a completion date.

The guidance sets out the need for conveyancers to exchange a written agreement to alter the existing contract, to e-sign or authorise the conveyancer to sign on the client’s behalf, to formally exchange documents and to ensure clients are fully advised in accordance with their own circumstances. It also outlines how firms might wish to consider issues that may arise around the client’s mortgage, searches and any additional costs that might be involved.

It also urges firms to treat every case on an individual basis and any clauses or processes recommended by the firm should be amended according to the individual needs of the client.

Within the document there is also specific advice that conveyancing firms can offer to clients who have exchanged, have not exchanged, or for those who have to move during the current restrictive period.

We have published 'Industry guidance to conveyancers on Coronavirus' and 'Information when using the Variation Agreementfor anyone to download.

Kate Faulkner, MD and property analyst says “over the last few weeks the property industry  has done an incredible job at putting people and not profits first to work together, along with MHCLG, to provide advice for consumers during the Coronavirus”. Kate continues, “the efforts that the different legal organisations and individuals over the weekend to meet government guidelines in a consistent way is exceptional.”

“It is an incredible ask for people to put their lives and moves on hold, but I know that agents, developers, legal companies, surveyors, the search industry, removal companies and others have put people before profit which should be commended. For any buyers, sellers and renters considering moving, please, if at all possible don’t. I know it’s difficult but take advice from the professionals and if you have any queries, contact me via Propertychecklists.co.uk and I will do my best to answer your individual questions over the coming weeks and months.”


ENDS

For further information on moving home please contact Kate and for legal queries, please contact Beth Rudolf

 

NOTES TO EDITORS

For media professionals
If you need Kate to appear on TV, radio or for general comment, please contact directly:
Kate Faulkner, Property Market Analyst and Commentator
Websites: Kate Faulkner and Propertychecklists.co.uk
Email: Kate Faulkner 
Telephone: 07974 750562

About Kate Faulkner
Kate has written eleven property books including four for the consumer organisation Which? Kate is one of the most prolific property market analysts in the country, constantly reviewing property trends, prices, rents and the investment market. She presents at seminars, chairs debates and hosts property events across the country From a media perspective, Kate’s appearances include BBC Breakfast, BBC News, R4’s Money Box and You and Yours, ITV’s This Morning, co-host of LBC’s property hour and regularly contributes to newspapers and magazines.

 

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