The effects of Covid-19 on Conveyancing


If you’re in the middle of a sale or purchase transaction, we appreciate that that you may have concerns at this time.

In response to queries about the impact of the coronavirus on conveyancing transactions, the Law Society issued guidance on 13th March 2020.

The Law Society advised that there is unlikely to be any drafting solution that would be appropriate to every case and that they do not think that they can assess the position sufficiently to attempt to provide any suitable clauses for such a wide range of potential situations.

The Law Society issued guidance in response to many questions from it’s members concerned about the following:-

  • requests for properties being decontaminated
  • refusal to vacate on completion because seller in isolation
  • failure or disruption to parts of the banking system (such as CHAPS)
  • inability to obtain search results if people are not available to carry out the searches
  • reluctance on the part of removal company employees to enter properties
  • difficulties in obtaining witnesses
  • issues in mortgage lending surveys physical valuations

The Law Society appreciate that parties may wish to negotiate new provisions to suit specific circumstances of a transaction however, they have advised that they do not consider bespoke clauses are necessary or desirable as standard.

Negotiating such clauses may delay the conveyancing process and it is difficult to assess the effectiveness of any clause drafted on possible eventualities (particularly as the advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Public Health England is changing rapidly).

At this stage, clients may want to consider agreeing as little time as possible between exchange and completion to mitigate the risk of a delay in completion or fall through as a result of the effects of the coronavirus. Where possible, clients may also want to consider aiming towards a simultaneous exchange and completion. This approach may not suit every transaction and there are still risks involved with this strategy (i.e incurring removal costs which may not be recoverable if completion is then delayed or no longer possible).

The Law Society end their guidance note to reiterate that conveyancers should continue to follow general principles and protocol and use pragmatism and common sense.

Meaby & Co are lawyers experienced in all aspects of conveyancing. Should you require conveyancing advice, including the above, please contact Varsha Varsani on 0207 703 5034.