UPDATED ON 11 OCTOBER 2020
The word on everyone’s lips at the moment is “unprecedented.” We hear so much about Covid–19 itself, but what we don’t always hear about its impact on the property market.
There was much demand that built up during the lockdown, and which started to have an impact as soon as the property market took the first tentative steps into release. What is not widely known is that many of the institutions involved in Conveyancing are still not fully open, and so the time between agreeing a sale or purchase and the moving date is getting longer and longer.
Searches are taking longer. Valuations and Mortgage offers are taking longer. The Land Registry (which had no contingency plans for remote working at the start of the lockdown) are still operating a very limited service. Even if you don’t need a Mortgage, the chances are a chain of transactions and these delays will impact your move. Clearly these matters are beyond our control.
And if all of that wasn’t enough, now add the Government’s Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) holiday, which ends on 31 March 2021, creating a cliff edge situation. Not surprisingly everyone who has a purchase going through at the moment wants to save the SDLT, who wouldn’t?
At the end of September 2020, market commentators said that unless a sale or purchase had been agreed by then, there could be no guarantee that it would complete by the end of the SDLT holiday, meaning that home buyer could miss the saving in SDLT.
We have been involved with the property market for nearly 50 years. We have been through recessions, property booms, and property crashes, and helped Clients achieve their home move against many different challenges.
We know some firms are still prepared to take on new conveyancing matters, to allow their service levels to drop, and to just prepare themselves for complaints. We are not one of those firms. We will neither let our service levels drop, nor take on so much work that we are unable to look after your move properly.
As a result we have taken the hard and unprecedented decision—there’s that word again—to severely restrict taking new instructions on Conveyancing matters.
We are still able to accept instructions on Probate, Wills, and Lasting Powers of Attorney. These areas of work are busy, but the levels of work and our control over them are still manageable.
We hope that by being honest with you, you will understand why the influences outside our control have forced us to take this decision. As soon as we are able to accept new instructions, with the confidence that we will be able to look after your move properly, we will start accepting new instructions again.