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The Government are now urging all buyers and sellers of occupied properties not to complete unless they have already exchanged contracts; and it has proved impossible for the parties to that transaction, to agree an alternative deferred completion date. The Government guidance can be found, in full here.

Moves into unoccupied properties, or sales of properties where a tenant will remain in situ, may continue provided that all moves are undertaken in accordance with guidance, in force at the time of the move, from Public Health England/Wales (as appropriate). That guidance can be found here for England and here for Wales.

The Government guidance at present indicates that if a sale or purchase requires parties to move out on completion, then completion of that property transaction should be delayed until the restrictions on movement have been lifted.

We are seeing/experiencing the following difficulties which are having an impact upon our ability to progress transactions:-

  • A lot of removal companies are no longer operational.
  • Many mortgage valuers and surveyors are no longer visiting properties.
  • Some search agents are unable to carry out searches without significant delays and some are closed altogether.
  • Some banks are operating on significantly reduced staff levels and some have simply closed their call lines and some branches which is resulting in delays in obtaining mortgage advances, mortgage redemption statements and in some instances mortgage offers.
  • Some estate agents and conveyancing firms are closed and many are operating on reduced staff levels which is resulting in delays to the progression of conveyancing transactions.
  • Many buyers and sellers are following the Government stay at home measures which means that many transactions are being put on hold until such measures are lifted.

In light of the above, at Ramsdens, we are progressing those transactions that can complete and where clients want us to complete, through to completion. Thereafter, we will continue to progress those files which the Government have urged not to complete, as far as is possible, until the restrictions have been lifted. Please note however, that progress may be somewhat slower than it would have been prior to the Coronavirus outbreak. This is reflective of the issues listed above and also the fact that we may have to operate on reduced staff levels from time to time throughout the outbreak. In many cases, buyers and sellers may find that they have to or prefer to pause their move, until such time that the Government restrictions on movement have been lifted.


If you are looking to move house and want expert advice before you proceed, then please speak to our Residential Conveyancing team by calling 0808 1685 643, fill out an online enquiry form, or email and we will be in touch.