Covid-19 & Conveyancing – Can I Move House During Lockdown?

In light of the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak, we have put together some of the most frequently asked questions relating to residential property and moving house during this period. Our Conveyancing team continue to work and are here to help….

Many of our Clients are wondering about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on their plans to move house or buy/sell property. Here are five keys points which you may wish to consider.

1) So, what does the current lockdown mean for property sales and purchases scheduled whilst the stay-at-home measures to fight coronavirus (COVID-19) apply?

  • Home movers and renters should, where possible, delay moving to a new house while measures are in place to fight coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • The latest advice is that if you have already exchanged contracts and the property is currently occupied then all parties should work together to agree a delay or another way to resolve the matter.
  • If moving is unavoidable for contractual reasons (i.e. contracts have been exchanged) and the parties cannot reach an agreement to delay, then people must follow advice on staying away from others to minimise the spread of the virus.
  • In line with Government’s advice, anyone with symptoms, self-isolating or shielding from the virus, should follow medical advice which will mean not moving house for the time being, if at all possible. All parties should prioritise agreeing amicable arrangements to change move dates for individuals in this group, or where someone in a chain is in this group.

2) What if your mortgage offer expires, during any extension of the completion date?

Most Lenders subscribe to UK Finance, who agree and publish standards for the mortgage industry.   UK Finance have confirmed that, to support customers who have already exchanged contracts for house purchases and set dates for completion, all mortgage lenders are working to find ways to enable customers who have exchanged contracts to extend their mortgage offer for up to three months to enable them to move at a later date.

However if your circumstances change during this three month period or the terms of the house purchase change significantly and continuing with the mortgage would cause house buyers to face financial hardship, lenders will work with customers to help them manage their finances as a matter of urgency.


3) What if your property is on the market but not yet sold?

If your property is already on the market, you can continue to advertise it as being for sale but you should not allow people in to view your property.

There should not be any visitors into your home, and you should therefore not let people visit your property for viewings. Your agent may be able to conduct virtual viewings and you could speak to them about this possibility.


4) Can I make or accept an offer on a property?

The buying and selling process can continue during this period but you should be aware that the process is likely to take longer than normal.

You are free to continue to make and accept offers on a property, however the buying and selling process may take longer.

The advice is for people to stay at home and away from others. This means Sellers should not invite visitors into their home and this includes estate agents, prospective buyers or advisors, valuers and surveyors. If you are buying a property, mortgage offers will be delayed as surveys and valuations will not be taking place.


5) Can I exchange contracts?

Once you have exchanged contracts, you have entered into a legal agreement to sell or buy the property.

  • If the property you are selling or buying is unoccupied you may be able to continue with the transaction.
  • If the property you are selling or buying is currently occupied, the following guidance is that all parties should work together to either delay the exchange of contracts until after the period where stay-at-home measures to fight coronavirus (COVID-19) are in place, or include explicit contractual provisions to take account of the risks presented by the virus.


We are advising against exchange of contracts, whilst the stay at home measures are in place, as there is still no guarantee that completion will take place as agreed.

Lisa Collett
16th April 2020