The government is asking home movers to postpone moving day, to limit the spread of coronavirus.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has released guidance for people in the middle of buying or selling residential homes, or those intending to move including renters.

It says: “There is no need to pull out of transactions, but we all need to ensure we are following guidance to stay at home and away from others at all times, including the specific measures for those who are presenting symptoms, self-isolating or shielding.

“Prioritising the health of individuals and the public must be the priority.”

The key points from the guidance

  • Home buyers should delay moving to a new property while stay-at-home measures are in place.
  • If you have already exchanged contracts and the house is currently occupied, all parties should agree an alternative date – or agree on a way to settle the matter.
  • If moving is unavoidable for contractual reasons, people must follow current social distancing measures to limit the spread of the virus.
  • Anyone with symptoms or are self-isolating should NOT move home for the time being. All parties need to discuss and agree arrangements to delay moving.

Although police have been given special powers to enforce essential movement only, the government is assuring home movers that police will not stop a critical move in the event that a new date was unable to be agreed.

What if an extension goes beyond the terms of a mortgage agreement?

UK Finance have confirmed that all mortgage lenders are working to find ways to enable customers who have already exchanged contracts and set completion dates to extend their mortgage offer for up to three months. This will enable customers to arrange a later date to move.

If a customer’s 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.

Further information and guidance can be found on the Government website here:

Your property may be repossessed if you do not keep up payments on your mortgage. There will be a fee for mortgage advice. The precise amount will depend on your circumstances but may range from £399 to £599.
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