Moving House during COVID-19

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Following the Prime Minster’s announcement on 23 March 2020, it was stated on 25 March 2020 that home buyers should, as far as possible, delay moving to a new house while emergency measures are in place to fight coronavirus.

Where moving is unavoidable for contractual reasons and all parties are unable to reach an agreement to delay or where all parties are insistent on moving people must follow advice on social distancing and hygiene to minimise the spread of the virus. Anyone with symptoms, self-isolating or shielding from the virus should follow medical advice and not move house for the time being.

It will also be very difficult to move given the position with removal firms.

Any move must be subject to following current guidelines in respect of public health as follows: –

  • properties not being occupied with cases (or suspected cases) of coronavirus (COVID-19);
  • occupants not being in a state of isolation; and
  • all parties abiding to social distancing requirements.

There is no need to pull out of your transaction, just delay a little. 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 our clients and other individuals and the public must be priority.

Our advice is as follows: –

  • If you have already exchanged contracts and the property is currently occupied then all parties should work together to agree a delay or another way to resolve the matter.
  • If moving is unavoidable for contractual reasons and all 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.
  • In line with the Government’s advice, anyone with symptoms, self-isolating or shielding from the virus, should follow medical advice which will mean not moving house for the time being. All parties should prioritise agreeing amicable arrangements to either delay or change moving dates.

UK Finance have confirmed that, to support clients who have already exchanged contracts 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.

Please note that once you have exchanged contracts, you have entered into a legal agreement to purchase the home and you will have to proceed to completion.

If you book removals, there is a possibility that you will have to cancel and you may lose any monies that you have paid and you may have to pay again.