Coronavirus Q&A From Your Preston Solicitors
Posted on 23rd April 2020
At MG Legal, our Preston solicitors understand that these are very uncertain times and many may have concerns over how matters are going to affect their conveyancing transaction. To guide you through, we have devised the below ‘Q&A’ to cover your COVID conveyancing concerns.
1. Is my conveyancing solicitor still working?
The answer is YES – Our team are still very much on hand to assist you with all of your conveyancing needs, welcoming all clients, old and new. If, therefore, you have an enquiry to make, contact us today by completing our online enquiry form, here.
2. What is my conveyancing solicitor doing to ensure my matter still proceeds?
There are a number of ways in which our expert property team are working to ensure your matter proceeds as smoothly as possible. These include remote log in technology for those working from home, online collaboration of documents and ‘Zoom’ or ‘Skype’ appointments and conference calls, where necessary. The needs of our valued clients have not changed in any way and, as such, neither has our service to you. See our blog in which our team discuss what is it like to be a ‘lawyer in lockdown’, and the steps we are taking, here.
3. Can my conveyancing transaction still proceed, in the current climate?
In so far as our property solicitors are concerned, we will do all we can to ensure that your matter still proceeds as far as is practicably possible, in the circumstances. Current government guidelines advise that, where possible, Completion should be delayed until we reach more certain times.
There are transactions which may be able to proceed without issue, such as land transactions, vacant property transactions and transfers of equity, as a handful of examples. This is because there is little, if any, need for contact that may impede social distancing measures.
But, what about those that do not fall into the above categories? Current advice states that, where Contracts have been formally Exchanged, and a legally binding Contract created, the parties to the transaction should aim to amicably agree an alternative date and to vary the Contract, however, this is not always possible. In such cases, it is possible for matters to proceed to Completion as, if not, this could give rise to a potential breach of Contract claim, which would have much more serious ramifications.
In essence, if social distancing measures can be adhered to, then Completion may be achievable. Transactions are, of course, to be assessed on a case by case basis in order to ensure the safety of our valued clients.
4. What about my Mortgage Offer?
UK Finance has advised that mortgage lenders can allow for an extension of time, before the mortgage offer expires, of up to three months, given the current crisis. This is, of course not to say that the same will automatically granted and should be taken up with your lender directly to ensure the offer remains in place.
The guidance, however, in connection with new mortgage applications, is that for many, they are currently being placed on hold, until we reach more certain times. Many lenders are prioritising those who require urgent assistance, such as mortgage payment holidays. See our blog on what a mortgage payment holiday is, and how the same may benefit you, here. With less staff to take calls, following social distancing guidelines, the non-urgent applications are being placed at the back of the queue. If you are purchasing a property, and await your mortgage offer, contact our solicitors in Preston today to discuss your options.
The concern of applicants is that the current pandemic may lead to a reduction in earnings or even loss of employment, which would amount to a material change in circumstances. As this could affect the ability to afford monthly mortgage repayments, such issues would need reporting to the lender. As a result, the offer amount, or terms, may be varied on this basis and, in some cases, may mean that the loan is not even offered. This would, of course, be an extreme circumstance, however, the possibility should be discussed with your mortgage broker, as this could affect your ability to secure a mortgage over a property you intend to purchase.
For those who already have a mortgage offer in place, and wish to proceed to Completion, the lender requires notice, by way of the Certificate of Title. This is the document used by your Preston solicitor to request that the mortgage funds be drawn down. Lenders, usually, require five working days’ notice of Completion in order to allow sufficient time to release funds. In the current climate, however, the more notice that can be provided, the better, in order to avoid any issues on Completion. One major lender, Barclays Bank PLC, confirmed that, at present, such requests are taking approximately two weeks to process. This is, therefore, something to keep in mind when discussing potential Completion dates with your conveyancer.
5. Am I allowed to move house?
As above, our property solicitors in Preston will assess matters on a case by case basis but, where we can, will use our best endeavours to ensure your matter proceeds to Completion.
One important consideration, however, is the need for removal firms. The British Association of Removers has been advised not to proceed with removal jobs, unless the same are absolutely essential. In addition, guidance states that a risk assessment should be carried out prior, to ensure the same will be adequately safe, with the use of any necessary personal protective equipment.
Whilst, in terms of conveyancing, your matter may be able to proceed, it is important to consider the needs of any third parties who may be involved in the process.
We appreciate that, during this time, you may have a hundred and one things to think about, so why let your conveyance be one more stress?
Get in touch today, at firstname.lastname@example.org, and let our local solicitors guide you smoothly through the process.
MG Legal - Your Local Solicitors
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