Q: I exchanged contracts in February to buy a property and am due to complete at the end of April. I am confused by the Government's Covid-19 advice. The property is occupied at the moment. Am I still able to proceed?
A: The Government's advice can be found here. The advice is that "if you have
already exchanged contracts and the property is occupied, all parties should work together to agree a delay or another way to resolve the matter". The Government adds: "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."
You are therefore able to proceed during lockdown, but only if it has proved impossible to agree a delay with the seller. You are likely to be required to confirm this instruction in writing to your legal advisers. It must be safe to proceed and you would need to follow the Government's advice on home removals. But some removals firms may not be operating.
Morris John appears in The Sunday Times Home Experts section answering a reader's question on the purchase of a property in these unprecedented times.
Morris is a partner in the Residential Property Group. He specialises in all aspects of residential conveyancing, acting for a broad range of clients from first-time buyers to seasoned investors and developers. He acts regularly for solicitors of other firms.
The Sunday Times Home Experts 5 April 2020