Due to the unprecedented circumstances our country face with the Covid-19 virus outbreak, M&K Solicitors understand the measures needed to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
We wish to inform you that M&K Solicitors are following government guidelines in order to protect the wellbeing of our staff, members of their families and our clients. M&K Solicitors remains open for business, and all members of our staff will continue to work either from home, or within the office during our usual business hours of 9:30am – 5:30pm.
With this being said, all routine face-to-face meetings for the foreseeable future will be via telephone or Skype conference, which will limit social interaction and slow down the spread of the virus. Any pre-booked appointments will resume in person. Face-to-face meetings will only be available in exceptional emergency circumstances. We will not be accepting any walk-in appointments. Please do contact your caseworker to ascertain whether you qualify for a face-to-face appointment.
To those with face-to-face appointments at our office, please reschedule your appointment if any of the following applies to you:
- Cold / flu symptoms
- High temperature
- If you, or any members of your household have travelled to any other country within the last 14 days
- If you have come into contact with anyone Covid-19 positive or anyone who is displaying symptoms of Covid-19
In the meantime, for routine enquiries, all staff are contactable in the usual manner, via telephone and email. Please be assured that all your telephone calls and emails will be dealt with without delay and our service levels will be maintained.
Our firm will continue to accept post, and telephone calls to our main office line. However, please note, any client that attends the office without an appointment, will be provided the contact details of their caseworker and encouraged to liaise via other methods of communication. This is to protect the safety of our staff, and other members of the public. We therefore ask you to refrain from visiting our office for the time being.
M&K Solicitors intend to tackle all challenges that may arise from this fast-moving situation, and we will therefore continue to keep you all informed as and when appropriate.
Whilst our face-to-face meetings may be limited, M&K Solicitors remain fully operational for business and we wish you and your families warm wishes during such challenging times.
GUIDANCE FOR CLIENTS ON HOUSE MOVES
ADVICE FOR CLIENTS WHO HAVE ALREADY EXCHANGED CONTRACTS
1. Agree either directly or through your estate agent that your transaction can be deferred.
2. It is a good idea to have a two-step process so that you delay the move until the end of the current stay-at-home period and the requirements about physical distancing, but with the ability to extend that timescale if the Government restrictions are extended.
3. The clause should state that once the restrictions end there will be a period of time agreed before you move to enable everyone to get ready for the move. This might be one or two weeks. Make sure the timescale will give you enough time to find removals and arrange your move especially in circumstances where there is likely to be an increased demand for these services.
4. There is a formal process required to effect a deferral of a completion date which will involve your conveyancer exchanging agreements on your behalf with the other party to confirm the new arrangements.
5. If you are buying a property with a mortgage you should check whether you will need written confirmation from your lender to this extension. (Lenders generally have agreed to extend mortgage offers by three months).
6. Consider what would happen if your circumstances change during this period, for example, would you still be able to afford the mortgage if you lost your job and had to find new employment?
7. You should also consider that property values will fluctuate during the period of deferral and this might impact your lender’s ability to lend. This will be particularly important if your mortgage makes up a large proportion of the house price, perhaps 60% or over.
8. If you are both buying and selling, bear in mind that if your own buyer or seller’s circumstances change, and they need a mortgage, they may not be financially able to proceed with your transaction at the end of the restrictions.
9. You should also bear in mind that even when the restrictions are removed there may be other unavoidable delays in your move, perhaps if someone in the chain has died and their estate needs to be settled before the move can be completed. In that case you could agree a further delay or seek to end the contract.
ADVICE FOR CLIENTS WHO HAVE NOT YET EXCHANGED CONTRACTS
1. You can still continue with your transaction and should take this time to work with your conveyancer to progress the transaction and to read through the reams of documents involved in moving house.
2. You should think very carefully before instructing your conveyancer to exchange contracts, even where completion is a long way off, as the contract will be binding, and you would have to complete even if your financial position had changed.
3. You should make sure that if you do instruct your conveyancer to exchange, that they have incorporated a suitable clause in the contract to deal with any ongoing risks caused by the virus.
ADVICE FOR CLIENTS WHO HAVE TO MOVE DURING THE STAY-AT-HOME PERIOD AND THE REQUIREMENTS ABOUT PHYSICAL DISTANCING
1. You should only move during the restrictions if your move is critical and it is safe to do so, for example, where the property is empty. If the empty property is in a chain, it may not be possible to complete without breaking the chain.
2. You must follow advice from Public Health England and Public Health Wales on social distancing and must not endanger yourself or others during your move.
3. You should complete a deep clean if you are moving to a new home and must follow the advice given for decontamination of your new home if you know, or have reason to believe, that the previous occupants – or someone which they had been in contact with – has Coronavirus.