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Government calls on homebuyers to delay completion - expert comment

Dr Jane Bryan from Warwick Law School comments on the call from the Government to delay home moves to assist in the fight against coronavirus:-

"The most important thing for anyone in this situation is to follow the advice of their solicitor and to ensure that any advice is in writing.

"If contracts have been exchanged, then both parties are contractually bound to the sale going ahead and there are financial penalties if one party pulls out.

"Most buyers will have paid a deposit when contracts were exchanged, with full payment due to be made at completion. After exchange, if the buyer fails to complete, they will be liable to forfeit their entire deposit and may be liable to pay interest on the balance of completion funds and even the se‚Äčller's costs. If the seller fails to complete, they will be liable for the costs incurred by the buyer in the transaction to date, which are usually fees paid to their lawyers and surveyors.

"The completion date can be changed by agreement. Estate agents and lawyers will play an important part in this negotiation, and it is to be hoped that all parties can work together in these difficult times to find a completion date that works for all, and respects the health of others involved in the process, such as removal firms.

"Having said that, I am sure finding agreement will be easier said than done - but hopefully all parties will be working to a safe move at the right time."

27 March 2020

Please note - this comment does not constitute legal advice or give rise to a solicitor/client relationship. Specialist legal advice should be taken in relation to individual circumstances.


Sheila Kiggins

Media Relations Manager

07876 218166