Solicitors and COVID-19

Solicitors and COVID-19

During the lockdown of COVID-19 we have been asked many questions about what we can and cannot do:

Do my children still have to spend time with their other parent?
The guidance that is published by the Government is clear that where parents do not live in the same household, children under 18 can be moved between their parents’ homes. All usual arrangements should continue.

Can I divorce during lockdown?
Yes, the Court are still accepting new applications and they are still processing applications for decree nisi and decree absolute in respect of petitions issued before lockdown. All parties need to bear in mind however that we are experiencing slighly longer delays than usual in the processing of the same.

Can I move to a new house during lockdown?
The government has amended the coronavirus (COVID-19) regulations to make clear that people who wish to move home can do so. This guidance provides important public health information to ensure that moving home and key activities around this, such as viewing property, can happen safely. It also applies to custom and self-builders looking to acquire a plot or a property to renovate or to demolish.
It is important that everyone knows how to stay alert, contain the virus and save lives.

Can my re-mortgage still go ahead?
As re-mortgaging doesn’t require anyone to move from their property, it should be possible to re-mortgage your property. However, lenders have been withdrawing some mortgage products so there may be less choice than before. You may also find it difficult to get a mortgage if a valuation is not able to take place.

What happens if my mortgage offer expires before completion can take place?
UK Finance has announced that all mortgage lenders will extend mortgage offers by three months.
However, in pactice we’re not seeing this to always be the case. It is important that you check with your mortgage lender and conveyancer, to see if the offer has been extended.

Can I move into a completed new build property?

You are still allowed to move into an empty home - so this would include new build houses. Clearly any moving arrangements would need to comply with the rules on social distancing. The most recent guidance suggests that removals firms should not be entering into new business during this period. Guidance on social distancing also suggests that “critical home moves” can go ahead (if you have already exchanged). This is likely to include situations with house purchase chains where it has not been possible for all the parties to the chain to agree to an extension of completion and moving dates.