Moving Home Safely
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Conveyancing

Covid-19 FAQs

For added peace of mind, we thought we’d put together some FAQs which might help to answer your queries or concerns at this difficult time.

COVID-19 UPDATE (updated 8/7/2020)

WE ARE HERE TO HELP GET BRITAIN MOVING AGAIN

Here at Countrywide Conveyancing Services, we are continuing to monitor the impact of COVID-19 and are following Government guidelines in order to protect our staff and ensure a continued service to our clients.

The safeguarding of our staff is of paramount importance and we are continuing to expand our agile working structure allowing our staff to work securely and safely from home.  

The Government has recently issued updated guidelines on moving home in England, a link to the latest guidelines can be found here. Whilst in Wales there are stricter measures in place, for more information click on moving in Wales.  Despite the on-going external disruption, we are continuing to exchange and complete during this period in accordance with the guidelines separately issued for England and Wales. 

If you are expecting to exchange and complete imminently, and you have not heard from us, please contact your Legal Team.

If you are not yet close to exchange, don’t worry. You may not hear from us as quickly as we would like but rest assured your move is important to us and we are doing what we can to progress it.  If you have left us a message on the Connect portal, we will know about it and we will respond to you just as quickly as we can. Your patience and co-operation will really help us to get all our customers moving. 

HELP US, HELP YOU

With our implementation of home working and to mitigate the risk posed by the current Pandemic, we will be sending all correspondence where possible by e-mail. When you are required to send correspondence to us, send hard copies only where it is absolutely necessary – for example original signed documentation.

Should you require assistance or have any concerns, please click on the link to contact us

HEIGHTENED RISK OF FRAUD

This can often be an opportune time for fraudsters to take advantage in times of intense disruption.

WE WOULD LIKE TO TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO ASK YOU TO TAKE EXTRA CARE, IN PARTICULAR WHEN MAKING PAYMENTS TO US OR RECEIVING FUNDS FROM US.  WE ASK YOU TO BE PARTICULARLY VIGILANT AND TAKE NOTE OF THE FOLLOWING;

  • We will NEVER amend our bank account details mid-transaction

  • Always confirm money transactions verbally with us, and never rely exclusively on email communication

  • Treat any communications from new or unrecognised sources, particularly any communications that express urgency or require you to move quickly, with extreme caution. Always check with us first.

The Council for Licensed Conveyancers has also published guidance on re-opening the housing market safely, offering practical guidance in preparation for and during your home move. Click here to read more.

Conveyancing FAQs

  • I have exchanged contracts with a future completion date, but my circumstances have changed, and I now cannot complete my house purchase or sale. What should I do? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down
    • Once you have exchanged contracts, you are contractually bound to complete your sale or purchase on the agreed completion date.  If you are unable to do so, whatever the reason, you will be in breach of contract. This has always been the case, irrespective of the COVID-19 implications. 
    • The implications of this can range from payment of interest under the contract for late completion, loss of the 10% deposit paid on a purchase or refund of the deposit paid on a sale, and other reasonable costs that flow from the breach of contract.  In a long chain, this could include significant costs being passed on to the defaulting party, or having to chain break and find temporary accommodation to enable a sale to go through to avoid a breach of contract.
    • If you believe you can no longer complete, contact your Property Lawyer.
  • I know my case is ready to exchange and complete, what should I do? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    We are still exchanging and completing cases, but minimising the risks by advising that the safest option is to proceed by completing on the same day as exchange of contracts, or with a shorter than usual interval between exchange and completion.

    Ordinarily, there is a period of time between exchange of contracts and legal completion. However, in these uncertain times, there are a number of additional risks which may restrict your ability to move on a predetermined and contractually bound moving date. For example, you or someone in the chain could contract COVID-19 between exchange and completion which will restrict your ability to move. This could lead to hefty financial penalties under the contract.

    Some Law Firms are suggesting additional clauses to be inserted into contracts to potentially mitigate these risks.  Prior to exchange of contracts, your Lawyer will be able to provide you with advice on the options available to you, allowing you to make a decision that’s right for you.

    Our best advice is for you to exchange and complete on the same day or with a short interval between the two dates. Whilst not ideal as you will not have 100% guarantee that you are moving until shortly before, we think this is, on balance, the right approach during these extraordinary times.

    If you think your case is nearly ready to exchange and complete, please keep in regular contact with your property lawyer, as we will be working for you. Please keep your personal and removal arrangements under constant review. 

  • Are there risks exchanging and completing with a short interval/on the same day? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    We are quite used to dealing with simultaneous or short notice exchanges and completions, but they do require the co-operation of all parties involved in the transaction and there are risks.

    • It will be necessary for you to make all the practical arrangements in advance of the proposed completion date, some of which could incur costs in advance even though until contracts have been exchanged, you cannot be certain that the transaction will actually take place. 
    • All parties involved, particularly in a chain of transactions, will have to make the same preparations and if anyone of them cannot make those arrangements in time, or their own circumstances change, the arrangement may collapse at the last minute.
    • If a proposed simultaneous exchange of contracts and completion is not successfully achieved, then all the preparations would have to be repeated in time for an alternative date and you would inevitably incur additional costs (e.g. removals cancellation fee, interest payable on your new mortgage funds ordered in advance, ).

    Whilst we have highlighted the main risks, we believe that in the current climate, this is the right approach which will limit some risks which are more prevalent during this lockdown period, such as;

    • Mortgage lender delays - we know that the majority of mortgage institutions are affected by this crisis, as such there could be difficulties in getting mortgage funds for the day of completion
    • Law firms with limited capacity to operate or closed – during the lockdown period we could see office closures or Law firms who are unable to operate which could affect the ability of a chain to complete
    • Removal firms – Many removal firms are simply not operating during this time, especially in Wales, this may affect the ability of the chain to complete, it is recommended that you continually review your removal arrangements
    • Banks open for business – whilst we have not experienced any issues to date, this could be an issue during the lockdown period. We will continually review this with our bank and liaise with other firms prior to exchanging and completing.
  • I know my case is not ready to exchange, will you still be progressing the legal work and working on it? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    In common with other Law firms, we are operating remotely and at a reduced capacity. You can contact us by e-mail, and the auto response will direct you to respond to a mailbox which will be monitored. We do ask for your patience as we try to manage the unique challenges posed by COVID-19 in the best interests of everyone. We continue to work hard to keep our customers moving and are also focussed on progressing legal work for clients who are expecting to move in the future.  We are also aware that mortgage lenders are reducing their ability to service requests, and an increasing number of Law firms have told us of temporary closure or reduced staffing levels, all of which will have an impact on how much we are able to do.

    During these are uncertain times, we wanted to reassure you that the health and wellbeing of our customers, colleagues and communities remain the utmost importance to us. Please be assured that we are working through all queries and we will deal with your case, although we may not be able to respond as quickly as we would like.

  • Can you help me decide whether to continue with my purchase or sale? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Although we cannot make decisions for you, we will let you know the possible options and the risks of those options. Then you can consider what would be best for you and the chain of transactions in which you may be involved.  These are extraordinary times, but we are here to support you in your move in any way we can. 

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you once again for your patience during this time. 

Contact us

To discuss our services, please contact one of our regional centres: