The second national lockdown comes to an end today, and England will move to a local tier system. There are different restrictions as to what you can and cannot do in each tier but one thing is the same – you can move house! There are a number of important legal exemptions that apply to all tiers and one of these relates to moving house.
You can continue with any existing planned moves and also view new properties. Estate agents, removers and valuers can all continue working and there are no restrictions on the types of survey that can be carried out. However, the government’s national guidance on moving home safely highlights that you may find that the process is different because those working in the property industry have had to modify how they work to reduce the risk from COVID-19. For example, at the start of the process any initial viewings should be done virtually where possible. At the end of the process you may find that your property transaction is completed "virtually" rather than with a traditional wet ink signature on the legal documents.
The guidance is that all parties should be as flexible as possible and should be prepared to delay moves if necessary (e.g. if one of the parties is affected by COVID-19). It is important to discuss the detail of your particular situation with your legal adviser so that they can consider whether or not it is appropriate to include special wording in your contract. We have completed a significant number of transactions for our clients since March 2020 and would be happy to advise you on the legal issues of buying and selling property in the current unusual circumstances.
The housing market in England will remain open in all 3 tiers