25 Mar 2020

Lender Sales Transactions and COVID-19

Lender Sales Transactions and COVID-19

On 26 March 2020 the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government published guidance on residential property sales in England & Wales during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Here's a summary of the key points:

  • All conveyancing transactions can continue generally; there is no need to pull out
  • But “stay at home” guidance must be followed to prioritise public health together with other measures
  • Vacant properties – transactions can continue and advice on home removals followed
  • Occupied properties – “parties to do all they can to amicably agree alternative dates to move, for a time when it is likely that stay-at-home measures against coronavirus (COVID-19) will no longer be in place.”
  • In the event that a new date cannot be agreed, parties can avail themselves of the “exemption for critical home moves” to avoid police enforcement action.
  • Mortgage Offers

In order to support customers who have already exchanged contracts for house purchases and set dates for completion, UK Finance confirmed that 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.

Mortgagees in Possession

These properties are unoccupied, and Government guidance is that “conveyancers should continue to support the sales of unoccupied properties as far as possible.”

We recommend that lenders who are mortgagees in possession, and are therefore engaged in selling unoccupied properties, should proceed as normal. It will be for the buyers and their solicitors, agents and removals contractors, to comply with the additional requirements during the outbreak.

Our Lender Services experts at Aberdein Considine will continue to monitor and report on developments affecting our financial services clients.

Contact Thomas Lillie or Myra Scott if you would like to discuss matter further.

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