Covid-19 FAQs

For added peace of mind, we thought we’d put together some FAQs which might help to answer your queries or concerns at this difficult time.

Here at Country & Capital Property Law, the safety of our customers and colleagues is at the very heart of what we do.  In this uncertain climate, we have been working around the clock to understand the Government guidelines and we continue to put every effort into ensuring the most critical moves, should they be required,  are able to take place during this lockdown period.

The Government has recently issued updated guidelines on moving home in England, a link to the latest guidelines can be found here. Whilst in Wales there are stricter measures in place, for more information click on moving in Wales.  Despite the on-going external disruption, we are continuing to exchange and complete during this period in accordance with the guidelines separately issued for England and Wales. 

In response to Government guidance, we at Country & Capital Property Law have implemented the following;

  • Mobilised a team of lawyers to securely access cases and safely work from home
  • We are working on all cases and progressing your transaction on your behalf. Once we are in a position to Exchange Contracts, we will talk through your options with regards to Exchanging and Completing during the restrictions imposed by COVID-19.
  • We can assure you that during these unprecedented times we are adapting as quickly as possible to this fast moving situation, you can help us by;
  • Sending any documentation to us by e-mail.
  • If you need to contact us, please email your Lawyer or email us at enquiries@countryandcapital.co.uk or by calling 01494 611 722

We know there will be many questions as a result of the Government guidance issued on house moving during lockdown, here are some FAQ’s to assist;

Country & Capital FAQs

  • I exchanged contracts before the Coronavirus lockdown, but my circumstances have changed, and I now cannot complete my house purchase or sale. What should I do? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down
    • Once you have exchanged contracts, you are contractually bound to complete your sale or purchase on the agreed completion date. If you are unable to do so, whatever the reason, you will be in breach of contract. This has always been the case, irrespective of the Coronavirus implications. 
    • The implications of this can range from payment of interest under the contract for late completion, loss of the 10% deposit paid on a purchase or refund of the deposit paid on a sale, and other reasonable costs that flow from the breach of contract. In a long chain, this could include significant costs being passed on to the defaulting party, or having to chain break and find temporary accommodation to enable a sale to go through to avoid a breach of contract. 
    • We are contacting our customers who have already exchanged with a completion date beyond 31stMarch to discuss their options. If you have not been contacted and you think, you can no longer complete, contact your Property Lawyer.
  • I know my case is ready to exchange and complete, what should I do? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    We are aware of all imminent completions, and we will have been in touch with you to discuss your options. We are still exchanging and completing cases, and minimising the risks by completing on the same day as we exchange (this is known as a Simultaneous exchange and completion).

    Ordinarily, there is a period of time between exchange of contracts and legal completion. However in these uncertain times, there are a number of additional risks which may restrict your ability to move on a predetermined and contractually bound moving date. For example, you or someone in the chain could contract Coronavirus between exchange and completion which will restrict your ability to move. This could lead to hefty financial penalties under the contract.

    Some Law Firms are suggesting additional clauses to be inserted into contracts to potentially work around these risks. We do not believe that agreeing complex and lengthy COVID-19 clauses is the right approach and is in your best interest.

    Our best advice is for you to exchange and complete on the same day. Whilst not ideal as you will not have 100% guarantee that you are moving until the day, we think this is, on balance, the right approach for the most critical exchange and completions during these extraordinary times.

    If you think your case is nearly ready to exchange and complete, please keep in regular contact with your property lawyer, as we will be working for you. Please keep your personal and removal arrangements under constant review.

  • Are there risks exchanging and completing on the same day? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    We are quite used to dealing with simultaneous exchanges and completions but it does require the co-operation of all parties involved in the transaction and there are risks.

    • It will be necessary for you to make all the practical arrangements in advance of the proposed completion date, some of which could incur costs in advance even though until contracts have been exchanged, you cannot be certain that the transaction will actually take place. 
    • All parties involved, particularly in a chain of transactions, will have to make the same preparations and if anyone of them cannot make those arrangements in time, or their own circumstances change, the arrangement may collapse at the last minute.
    • If a proposed simultaneous exchange of contracts and completion is not successfully achieved, then all the preparations would have to be repeated in time for an alternative date and you would inevitably incur additional costs (e.g. removals cancellation fee, interest payable on your new mortgage funds ordered in advance, etc.).

    Whilst we have highlighted the main risks, we believe that in the current climate, this is the right approach which will limit some risks which are more prevalent during this lockdown period, such as;

    • Mortgage lender delays  - we know that the majority of mortgage institutions are affected by this crisis, as such there could be difficulties in getting mortgage funds for the day of completion
    • Law firms with limited capacity to operate or closed – during the lockdown period we could see office closures or Law firms who are unable to operate which could affect the ability of a chain to complete
    • Removal firms – Many removal firms are simply not operating during this time, this may affect the ability of the chain to complete, it is recommended that you continually review your removal arrangements
    • Banks open for business – whilst we have not experienced any issues to date, this could be an issue during the lockdown period.  We will continually review this with our bank and liaise with other firms prior to exchanging and completing.
  • I know my case is not ready to exchange, will you still be progressing the legal work and working on it? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    We will be actively progressing all cases and your Property Lawyer will remain in regular contact with you to provide you with an update and to take your instructions throughout.

    Whilst we will progress your case, we are aware that some mortgage lenders are drastically reducing their ability to service requests, and an increasing number of Law firms have told us of temporary closure or reduced staffing levels, all of which will have an impact on how much we are able to do.

  • Can you help me decide whether to continue with my purchase or sale? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Although we cannot make decisions for you, we will let you know the possible options and the risks of those options. Then you can consider what would be best for you and the chain of transactions in which you may be involved.  These are extraordinary times, but we are here to support you in your move in any way we can.   

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you once again for your patience during this time.