Law Society tells members to proceed with transactions set to complete ‘within next few days’

The Law Society has told its members that they can proceed with completions that are due “within the next few days”.

The Law Society released a statement after Michael Gove said on TV that they could go ahead, but before the Government yesterday advised estate agency bodies that unavoidable moves could still happen.

However, the Law Society is seeking further guidance.

Law Society of England and Wales president Simon Davis said:

“Michael Gove said that if transactions have been committed to, they should go ahead. He also said that people should, if at all possible, seek to stay in their current home.

“If you are acting for someone who has exchanged contracts and has a completion date within the next few days, and you, your client and the other side are able to proceed, there is currently no government guidance to prevent you doing so.

“This is, of course, subject to following current guidelines in respect of public health: properties not being occupied with cases (or suspected cases) of Covid-19, occupants not being in a state of isolation, and all parties abiding to social distancing requirements.

“We are seeking further clarity from government and will monitor closely as the situation develops.

“We are hoping for official guidance to be published in the next few days.”

Yesterday, the Government said that house moves – for buyers and sellers and also tenants – could go ahead if unavoidable for contractual reasons.

However, removals companies that belong to trade body BAR have been told to cancel or postpone any moves that were not already under way by Monday evening this week.

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18 Comments

  1. Rob Hailstone

    This is the message that came from MHCLG yesterday afternoon:

    A Government spokesperson said: “Home buyers and renters should, as far as possible, delay moving to a new house while emergency measures are in place to fight coronavirus.

    “If moving is unavoidable for contractual reasons and the parties are unable to reach an agreement to delay, people must follow advice on social distancing to minimise the spread of the virus.

    “Anyone with symptoms, self-isolating or shielding from the virus, should follow medical advice and not move house for the time being.”

    Additional information:

    •             We will be publishing further guidance as soon as possible.
    •             Where moves do need to go ahead, all those involved should take care to follow Government guidance on social distancing and hygiene. See Public Health England guidance here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection

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  2. mattfaizey

    Once again the aloof nature and inate snottiness of ‘professionals’ comes to the fore.

    Another day of Professional Movers having clients say ‘my conveyancer said it’s ok’.

    Despite clear health risks of sending staff out moving firms will be cast as the bad guys.

    All those associations Inc LS involved with home moves should be  ashamed off themselves.

    That no support or comment can be made in support of the movers trying to protect their staff and the public is shameful.

    This crisis is rapidly highlighting that the critic by movers towards conveyancers and agents is warrantied.

    All the agents and conveyancers need to pull their heads out from the gymnastic’esque positioning they have managed. MHCLG too. They need to ask themselves if they’d fancy a moving crew turning up o their parents, or grandparents right now…..spending hours handling their goods, and sharing air

    They need to say if they would leave thee isolation of their home or office and spend the day out with a moving crew. In random locations and homes.

    Can’t though can they?

    Cowards

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    1. mattfaizey

      And if you want to reply to me and  tell me I’m wrong you need to be prepared to send me your address. I will then send 3 of my staff to your home where they touch your possessions for 3 hours and breathe around you. You’ll be ok with that I presume? And if you have an older relative, we’ll go to them instead

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      1. J1

        This is Bob

        Bob is moving house

        Bob is outside with the removal men also called Bob

        Bob is a moron

        Don’t be like Bob

        Stay at home and save lives

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      2. SWAgent17

        Matt,

        These are very unusual times for us all and I assume you are also under a lot of stress and pressure right now. I completely agree that there are some agents and possibly conveyancers who would put profit over safety but the vast majority of agents that I have spoken with this week have followed government advice (however vague) and taken a common sense and risk based approach to transactions due to take place this week.

        We had a transaction due to exchange and complete tomorrow and have advised the client not to move, despite a local removal company offering to step in after another BAR registered company cancelled.

        The only objections we have had is from pushy sellers and landlords who want us to carry on as if life was normal and people weren’t dying in a horrible manner!

        Be careful not to judge the many by the low professional standards of the few!

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        1. mattfaizey

          You are right in your later paragraphs. I’m under much less pressure than my operations staff. Many mature conversations have been had here. Their ages range from 22 to 59. Some have children, one has his elderly mum living with them. One has health issues. They are scared stiff that we as a company will have to carry on due to the governments lilly-livered, yellow-belly inaction (certain many builders feel the same).
          I am ‘happy’ to accept we will lose somewhere @£10-15k per month during a shutdown. I’ll re-phrase, I’m accepting of it. I have spoken to many many movers who feel the same. What we cannot do is watch competitors steal not just the existing work, but also the future work. It is an impossible situation.
          We want to do right by our staff, as an industry. We want to be allowed to do what is right. We want HMG to do what is right. And we want agents and solicitors to do what is right. I had an agent on yesterday (called me direct), and they were on the phone late yesterday aft, not morning ‘we’re trying to get a whole chain exchanged and completed on Friday, how are you guys fixed?’

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    2. MisterP76

      Absolutely spot on. I’m getting more than a little sick of people saying the government says it’s ok for me to spend a few hours in a strangers house who may have told me theyr’e fit and well just to get a survey done. Was at a house two weeks ago where despite being told they hadn’t travelled recently when making the appointment the vendor let it slip they’d just got back from the Middle East!! Another “client” got irate because I wouldn’t meet them at a retirement complex to carry out a probate valuation which would enable him to get his hands on his inheritance a few weeks early!! What’s the matter with people????? RICS also being completely useless and offering clarity that will enable the whole surveying side to temporarily close as surely is the right thing to do.  

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  3. Essjaydee51

    I agreed with your sentiment Matt but then you let yourself down and showed colours aligned with the solicitors you malign, why are you threatening responders with such autonomy as to send three of your staff and not YOU in that crew!

    i shall wait for your reply to be that you want my address for a personal visit but don’t bother, I’m not interested

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    1. J1

      It’s a very emotional time
      Mixing rationalities and emotions is difficult and one major area of self restraint we will all have to manage in the come weeks
      Cut him a little slack 

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    2. mattfaizey

      Fine, I’ll join them. As however I’m scheduled to be reading up on furlough and the loan scheme today – that’s why!
       
      P.s it’s not a threat. It’s a questioning of others morality

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      1. SWAgent17

        That shouldn’t take you very longat all…there appears to be a few paragraphs with very little information on the HMRC website about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme! 

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        1. mattfaizey

          Marvellous,
          I need (or certainly would like) to inform my wonderful, and very dedicated employees what the plan is now before end of tomorrow too.

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  4. Rob Hailstone

    The pressure to complete during lockdown is coming from the client (including great pressure from some developers). Conveyancers are convincing many (but unfortunately, it would appear, not all) not to be so unwise and selfish. Some conveyancers have shut up shop for at least three weeks and some refuse to continue acting.

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    1. Alan Murray

      Too many conveyancers are claiming business as usual merely because they are working from home.

      It isn’t! I have a strong view on my colleagues in the profession spouting such nonsense. IMHO any Solicitor still carrying out exchanges should be sanctioned by the SRA. It is bad advice to advise clients to buy houses at this time and anyone doing so is putting their business first and clients interests second.

      Scotland has shut down for at least three weeks. England should be following suit. End of.

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  5. mattfaizey

    I’m certain you are correct Rob. Many members of the public are indeed being selfish. I have an email chain here involving a man from Harborne in B’Ham convincing us HMG have insisted he and his family relocate to London.
    A doctor – he is needed, tells us he is a keyworker and therefore we are allowed to move him.
    Investigation reveals he has ‘digs’, provided for him, but also owns a home in London he rents out. It’s empty. He has absolutely zero need to relocate his whole family. He is lying to us.
    However, please could you inform me what answer you would give to a client who says ‘my buyers and myself want to get completion done ASAP, can you exchange and complete on Monday?’ Will that answer be anything other than a response giving the client an excuse to tell a mover ‘my conveyancer said its ok’ ?

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  6. Ric

    For me this is simple, in my ever so simple mind.

     

    There are two scenarios… and to make the entire situation easier….

     

    1. EXCHANGED PROPERTY which DID EXCHANGE BEFORE 24th MARCH need the possible assistance and help to complete or sort something to avoid breach of contracts etc. Be that allow the completion or delay it.

     

    But then another category being made very clear.

     

    2. TRANSACTIONS which have NOT EXCHANGED – Tough luck. On Hold for the H & S of everyone until 14th April.

     

    This shouldn’t be difficult or complicated and definitely not left to the personal opinion of those involved in the transactions, as too many different opinions.

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    1. MarkRowe

      Ric, you’re right. It really is that simple

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    2. Retiredandrelaxed

      That seems spot on, to me.

      I can’t help feeling that a certain amount of huffing and puffing has been going on around this subject from some posters but these are beyond uncertain times and emotions are bound to be running high as a consequence.

      Thanks to Ric for such a succinct summary.

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