COVID-19: How will the coronavirus pandemic affect the sale or purchase of my property?

Tue 24th Mar 2020

Coodes Solicitors is continuing to manage both commercial and residential property purchases, sales and other transactions, offering advice and support to clients, as the UK deals with the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

Both the Commercial and Residential Property teams have been contacting clients to discuss the potential issues they are facing due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The firm’s property teams are also in communication with other local lawyers, working together to offer the best possible advice.

Some of the challenges the team have encountered so far include:

  • Requests for properties to be decontaminated.
  • Refusal to vacate on completion because a seller is in isolation.
  • Difficulties in obtaining witnesses for documents.
  • Issues in mortgage lending surveys and physical valuations.

As this ever-changing situation evolves over the coming days and weeks, the firm predicts that new issues may arise. These could include:

  • Failure or disruption to parts of the banking system (such as CHAPS).
  • Reluctance on the part of removal company employees to enter properties.
  • Problems in getting statutory declarations and other key documents sworn or completed.

Those buying, selling and letting properties are currently faced with a new decision to make. In the majority of property transactions there is at least one week between exchanging contracts and completion. However, property clients can instead opt to exchange contracts and complete simultaneously.

While this option may not suit everyone, it does ensure that if an occupier is unable to vacate because of COVID-19, they will not find themselves in breach of contract.

Maria Richards, Partner in the Residential Property Team said: “Our clients are dealing with unprecedented challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The option to exchange and complete simultaneously will help many of those people. However, there are, of course, pros and cons of working on this basis, and we will be talking through these with our clients.

“Clients are continuing to contact us about new and existing commercial and residential instructions and we remain committed to supporting them all at this challenging time.”

Jo Morgan, Partner and Head of Commercial Property, added: “Clients are naturally concerned about the impact of COVID-19. Each property matter presents different challenges depending on who is involved in the transaction and their position. Those who are involved in a commercial property deal have separate and additional business considerations.

“It is vital that everyone in the industry works together as one community at this time. That means sharing knowledge and information coming from lenders and other intermediaries we work alongside.

“Ultimately, the ability to progress property matters will depend on the chain being prepared for all eventualities.

“Our priority is to keep our clients updated and to continue to work with others in the industry to help us all meet the challenges we face.”

For more information and to seek advice on your property matters, please contact Coodes Solicitors on 0800 328 3282.

Tue 24th Mar 2020

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