Lockdown 3.0 – what does it mean for the property market?
Wednesday, January 6, 2021
Wednesday, January 6, 2021
In what now feels like the proverbial Groundhog Day, at 8pm on 4 January 2021, the UK was moved into its third National Lockdown. Echoing the announcement made at the start of the pandemic in March 2020, the Prime Minister yawped his now familiar slogan instructing the nation to ‘stay at home’.
But what of the property market? Are we now plunged into the despair seen in the first national lockdown in March 2020 which shutdown the market entirely? Thankfully, the answer is no.
During the first lockdown, we witnessed lenders tightening their purse strings, estate agents closing their doors and no viewings taking place. Property lawyers were unable to effect completions (unless under very limited circumstances) and exchanges were all but halted. Naturally, this caused a great deal of stress to purchasers, sellers and property professionals alike. Indeed, many are no doubt still reeling from the effects.
This time around, however, the property market remains very much open for business.
What is ‘allowed’ during this lockdown?
As long as all parties observe and maintain the Government guidance on social distancing, letting fresh air in and wearing face coverings, the following is permitted:
- Renters and home buyers will be allowed to move (albeit people outside your household or support should not help with moving house unless absolutely necessary);
- Solicitors can continue to operate and process transactions;
- Estate agents can continue to operate and you can attend property viewings;
- Removal firms and tradespeople will be allowed to enter homes; and
- Construction sites can continue to stay open.
Will the lockdown affect my transaction?
If someone in your chain displays symptoms of COVID, you could find yourself having to wait while they self-isolate which could add delays to your home move.
Whilst it is likely that many conveyancing firms will revert to the model displayed in the first lockdown and seek to exchange and complete transactions simultaneously (or at least as close thereto as possible), should there be a prolonged period between exchange and completion, contracts will need to be made as flexible as possible to accommodate this risk.
Specifically, protection will need to be afforded against the likelihood of a sudden change in circumstances which could undermine your sale or purchase transaction and expose you to unexpected costs.
The inclusion of a ‘Covid Clause’ (used frequently during the first lockdown) within the contract offers such flexibility and gives parties the ability to exchange contracts whilst ensuring neither party is at fault and in breach of contract if you are unable to complete because of a coronavirus related issue.
We would encourage you to speak with your Conveyancer should you have any concerns; or require further advice in this respect.
Support for home buyers, and property sellers from Samuel Phillips Law
Samuel Phillips Law continues to offer a full range of legal services including residential property conveyancing.
The team are based in the firm’s Covid-safe Newcastle office and can be contacted Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm via our dedicated conveyancing hotline 0191 2550255.
There is no disruption to service and the team are taking on new instructions daily.