Following on from the Prime Minister’s announcement on Sunday further clarity has been issued on the house moving process.
From today, Wednesday 13 May 2020, Estate Agents will once again be able to conduct viewings on Properties. For both sale and letting, provided that the social distancing measures are abided by. In addition, removers and surveyors have also been given the green light to get back to work. Again under strict social distancing requirements.
What to do now
If your sale/purchase is already underway
If we had advised you that your matter was ready to progress, subject to agreeing a completion date, please speak to your Estate Agent and ensure that the chain is still in-tact. It is important to know that all links in the chain are still proceeding. In order that we can swiftly agree the completion date. This is the responsibility of your Estate Agent, as they are best placed to agree this swiftly.
Once this has been agreed please let us know so that we can arrange the exchange.
Please do speak to your removals company to ensure that they are working. Also that they have availability on the agreed completion date. We expect there to be a large number of completions taking place over the next few weeks. Which will mean that removal companies will be stretched. It may be necessary to consider what have traditionally been less popular days for completion in order to obtain a removals slot, i.e. not a Friday.
Thought also needs to be given where there are vulnerable people in the chain. As they may not be subject to the same freedoms, from a health and safety point of view, as others. In particular we have been advised by a number of retirement blocks that they have their own rules regarding movement of residents during this time. They will require sufficient notice of a completion date to make the appropriate arrangements for the safety of the other residents.
Please be aware that if you have a mortgage we will need sufficient time to draw down mortgage funds to complete. Again we expect the banks to be extremely busy during this time and delays may be expected. Please ensure that we are given at least 5 working days notice of the intended completion date.
A word of caution
Whilst restrictions have been eased this is no confirmation that they will remain relaxed. If the infection rates increase, the Government are likely to tighten restrictions again. You should be aware that once exchange has taken place the completion date is locked in. If completion cannot take place on this date (for whatever reason, e.g. lack of removers due to increase in restrictions, parties in the chain refusing to move as they are self isolating, delay in funds being released due to bank staff shortages, etc) the standard conditions of sale place the cost of the failure to complete on the defaulting party. We have no way of knowing who the defaulting party would be in any given case. This depends entirely on the individual circumstances of the chain.
If your matter was not quite ready we will be in touch with an update in due course. As you are undoubtedly aware Hart Reade have been working throughout the lockdown in socially distanced offices and from home. So that when this time arrived we were ready to carry on with your matter.
If you are purchasing and your mortgage has not yet been issued please contact your mortgage broker, or the bank direct. To find out when the survey is intended to be carried out, if this is outstanding.
Please also now contact your surveyor if the survey has not already been carried out so that they can arrange a suitable time to visit the Property. If you require a recommendation in respect of a surveyor please do let us know. We will be happy to provide names and numbers who we have been told by other Clients provide an excellent service.
If you are thinking of selling/buying
If you are considering putting your Property on the market there are a number of steps that you can take which will speed up the transaction once you have agreed a sale. These include:-
- Completion of the Protocol forms. These are the Property Information Form (TA6) and Fittings and Contents Form (TA10). On a leasehold sale this will also include the Leasehold Information Form (TA7). This will allow us to issue the contract package to the Buyers’ Conveyancer as soon as they have confirmed they are instructed to act
- In terms of supplying paperwork to accompany the Protocol forms we need anything where work has been done to the Property. Where planning permission and/or building regulations would have been required or guarantees supplied. Common works include:-
- Heating systems and other heating appliances or gas appliances (gas cooker, log burner (log burners are a massive pain if you do not have the HETAS certificate))
- There is a standard checklist to complete to confirm it likely falls within permitted development rules
- Any guarantees whether or not this needed planning permission or building reg approval
We will need planning permission (where relevant) and the building regulation approval or competent persons certificate.
We do not need decorating receipts or replacement carpets etc unless this is a particular sale point.
In addition if you have served or received any notices in respect of the Property, copies of these need to be supplied
Where the Property is connected to a Private Drainage System there is a standard set of queries in relation to this. To help ascertain whether it complies with the current regulations
- Where you have to pay a service charge, it may assist if you look to obtain the resale pack from the landlord/management company. We would caution that the information in this pack can become out of date after six months and the landlord/management company will then likely charge to re-issue an up-to-date pack. If certain documents become out of date, such as the insurance policy, this is usually issued free of charge. As you have a right to receive this in any event. If your Estate Agent considers that your Property will sell quickly or you are on the verge of agreeing a sale it could be beneficial to obtain this. The provision of these packs is usually the delaying factor in such transactions
If you are purchasing, please arrange to speak to your mortgage broker, to ensure that you can borrow sufficient funds. If you require a recommendation in this regard please do contact us.
Get in touch
Hart Reade are here to help you in Eastbourne, Meads, Hailsham and Polegate. All departments are fully operational and ready to progress matters quickly. We can you practical advice to on how to manage your transaction so you can move quickly and safely within the guidelines.
If you would like to get in touch with one of our Property Conveyancing Solicitors then please call 01323 727321 or alternatively, please fill in the form below and someone will be in touch.
Author: Andrew Pluck. Head of Property Department, Partner