The Law Society says there is still some possibility that those home movers scheduled to complete in the near future might be able to go ahead, despite the Coronavirus lockdown.
The Minister for the Cabinet Office, Michael Gove, suggested earlier this week that if transactions in the housing market have been committed to, they should go ahead - although he put in the caveat that if there’s a chance the parties involved in the move could remain in their existing homes for the next period, they should do so.
Now the Law Society has instructed its conveyancer solicitor members: “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.”
The government’s advice, reiterated last evening to the National Association of Estate Agents, was: "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.”
The British Association of Removers, meanwhile, has told its members to go ahead only with those moves where some element of the process has already begun - such as packing - but to cancel outstanding bookings where the process has not yet commenced.