12 June 2020
Conveyancing and COVID-19 Updates
Updated Society Guidance on Conveyancing in light of the re-opening of the housing market
The Society welcomes
the re-opening of the housing market from 15th June 2020 which was
announced by the Department for Communities on 11th June 2020.
The Society was
pleased to have contributed to the drafting of the updated guidance which was
issued by the Department and a copy of which can be accessed on the link below:
In light of the
updated guidance from the Department, the Society would now advise members that
its guidance in relation to conveyancing can be updated to permit all
transactions to now proceed, provided that they are being carried out in
accordance with the Department’s guidance. Members will note from the
Department’s guidance that the housing market is not fully re-open as it was
before the COVID-19 crisis and that there are still restrictions in some areas.
Members must be mindful of this when progressing transactions. The Society
would also encourage members to adopt a flexible approach when dealing with
transactions particularly around any delays due to COVID-19.
The Society notes
the importance of front loading conveyancing transactions which is referred to
in the Department’s guidance and would remind members of the contents of the
Memorandum of Understanding with the RICS and NAEA, a copy of which can be
accessed on the link below.
Members are also
reminded of the draft Coronavirus Special Conditions which were published by
the Society on 10th June 2020 and which may be of use in the current
circumstances. A copy can be accessed on the link below.
As previously advised, the Committee intends that the draft is not prescriptive and can
be adapted by members to be appropriate to the circumstances of each case. For
example, in relation to the long stop provisions, these can be amended to fix
such a time period as is required in the circumstances or to specify an actual
date. Members may also wish to consider whether the expiration of the
purchaser’s mortgage offer may be suitable as a long stop.
Also, reference is made
in the draft Conditions to chain situations and it may be that members wish to
delete this clause depending upon the particular case. At clause 2.2(c), the
draft currently provides for reasonable endeavours and members may wish to
consider whether best endeavours may be more appropriate for the circumstances
of the particular case.
Any issues arising should be sent to
Andrew Kirkpatrick, Head of Non Contentious Business at: firstname.lastname@example.org.