Latest News

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20 January 2021

Propertymark Industry Supplier, Gallagher offers practical steps that can help agents and their clients reduce the risk of damage to property as areas of the nation are set to see further warnings of more inclement weather to come. Damage caused by the escape of water from frozen pipes and other equipment can be extremely costly in repairs and disruption. Read More...

Concerns raised over new energy efficiency proposals

20 January 2021

Propertymark has responded to the UK Government’s consultation on Improving the Energy Performance of Privately Rented Homes in England and Wales by highlighting a number of concerns. These relate to affordability and the need to look beyond a one-size fits all policy and develop proposals that work with the different age, condition, and size of properties in the private rented sector. Read More...

Change smoke and carbon rules for earlier checks

19 January 2021

Propertymark has responded to the UK Government’s consultation on extending the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Regulations in England, arguing that the rules should be amended so that landlords and agents must make sure the alarms are tested prior to the start of the tenancy and not on the first day of each new tenancy. Read More...

Licensing schemes are irresponsible in the current climate

19 January 2021

Propertymark has responded to a number of licensing scheme proposals from local authorities across England in recent months arguing that Councils who are pursuing the implementation of licensing schemes are being socially irresponsible. This is because in these unprecedented times landlords and agents are not able to comply with the requirements and Council resources are unlikely to be able to effectively enforce them. Read More...

The Letting Partnership commend agents on the crucial service they provide

19 January 2021

Propertymark Industry Supplier, The Letting Partnership, a specialist provider of client accounting and Client Money Protection services, outlines why letting agents should stand proud as we begin 2021and take stock of the vital role they perform during the challenges presented by the pandemic. Read More...

First ever Wrongful Termination Order granted

18 January 2021

A landlord has been penalised for evicting a tenant on wrongful grounds by the Housing & Property Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (FTS) by awarding its first Wrongful Termination Order. Read More...

What can conveyancers do now?

Wednesday 29 April 2020

In these uncertain times, conveyancers must be absorbing guidance given by the Government and The Law Society and become a fountain of knowledge as their clients approach them for guidance and a resolution. Propertymark looks at what you should be doing to keep on top of ongoing change.

With uncertainty currently throughout most aspects of everyone’s lives, home buyers look to conveyancers as the professional in the hope they can shed a light on their unsettled questions. By following guidelines, sales can be squeezed wherever possible, as well as showing expertise to better inform current and future vendors.

Tony Piccirillo, AVRillo Solicitor Partner, and Co-founder ran through his guidance and tips in a recent Propertymark webinar covering topics such as:

  • Government and The Law Society guidance
  • Cases that have exchanged
  • Cases that have not exchanged
  • What you should be doing

The Government’s general guidance at the moment is to “agree alternative dates to move to a time when is likely that stay-at-home measures will no longer be in place” – this doesn’t mean that clients' transactions s need to stop.

Pre-exchange

If your property is:

Unoccupied property

You can continue the transaction.

Occupied property

It is recommended you either:

Option 1: All parties should work to delay the exchange of contracts until after this stay-at-home period.

Option 2: Include explicit contractual provisions to take account of the risks presented by the virus. The Law Society says, “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.”

The second option is more complex and would require a lawyer to come up with a clause that would protect the client, including:

  • Client separation
  • Reduction in salary
  • Law firm closure
  • Family quarantine
  • Lander withdrawal
  • Chain collapse
  • Clients health
  • Loss of jobs
  • Removal issues

There is currently no standard clause taking into consideration the many impacts the virus may have. Until ‘tested in court’ no one knows what the correct clause consists of and lawyers are cautious of inputting incorrect information into the clause, so this is delaying the exchange of contracts.

If an exchange in contracts has already been done

Breaches of contract still apply in England unlike other countries that have put a freeze on them, and large penalties will still be imposed if these obligations are not met.

Can you complete?

Unoccupied property

Continue with this transaction although follow the guidance on home removals. Parties should be encouraged to approach this process in a spirit of good faith.

Occupied property

Change the original contract – buyers and sellers should be informed about all their options and consequences.

Option 1 Rescission: Ideally both parties would be put back largely in the position that they were in before contracts were exchanged. This means that the deposit monies would be returned in full and neither party would have any claim against the other.

Option 2 Deferred Completion: If one of both parties still want to proceed, consider agreeing a variation to the contract so that the completion date is deferred to a time when it is possible and safe to proceed.

The Law Society has produced a draft variation agreement clause, follow the link below to download the agreement, and read their guidance.

Variation agreement

MORE INFORMATION

For further information and to view Tony’s guidance in full detail, register to download the recorded version of Propertymark’s Conveyancing, what to do now webinar.

PROPERTYMARK WEBINARS

To support agents' preparations to emerge from the Coronavirus lockdown to maximise market potential, Propertymark has written a series of articles designed to add value and underpin your business. Our webinars also provide helpful tips on marketing, view details of our recorded and upcoming webinars.

Webinar recordings  Upcoming webinars