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Exchange and complete on same day, recommends leading conveyancer

Increased risk of property sales falling through during Coronavirus leads legal expert to recommend adopting extreme measures during pandemic.

Nigel Lewis

Another conveyancing figure has urged estate agents to recommend buyers and sellers move as quickly as possible from exchange to completion until the Coronavirus crisis and the lockdown ease..

Matthew Tebbot, Senior Associate in the Residential Property team at Wedlake Bell, says the pandemic has put the conveyancing system under considerable pressure and created several pinch points which can lead to sales falling apart or being delayed. This follow similar advice from another leading firm, O’Neill Patient.

These include slow local authority searches and a backlog at the Land Registry in dealing with enquiries and registrations, but also the difficulties witnessing documents, attending face-to-face meetings and delays caused by self-isolating and shielding buyers and sellers.

“Thought still needs to be given to ensuring that parties do not risk being in breach of contract where completion has to be delayed for any reason and so simultaneous exchange and completions will remain attractive,” he says.

A significant number of transactions have proceeded to simultaneous exchange and completion on the same day, to avoid the risk of either party being in breach of contract, he reports.

“While not ideal in terms of making practical arrangements, it has often been seen as the least risky solution,” says Tebbot.

“In addition to adapting to the ‘new normal’ when moving house, it is clear that all parties involved need to remain as flexible and to act as reasonably as possible.

“Despite these ongoing obstacles, the anecdotal evidence would suggest that the market has re-started strongly, stalled deals are now proceeding and new deals are being agreed.”

Read Matthew’s full guest blog.

June 1, 2020

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