Coronavirus Update

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: In the light of coronavirus updates issued by the Government, John M Lewis have taken the decision to close the office for face to face appointments and drop in. This is to safeguard our staff members and to enable us to continue with your transaction.  All matters can be dealt with effectively by telephone, post or email.  If you feel you require an appointment, please can you contact the member of staff who is responsible for your transaction and they will be able to make a decision if a face to face appointment is necessary.  

We have contingency measures in place to ensure your transaction can go ahead, but if you have any concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us. If you have a new business query please contact us via our website, telephone on 01332 292204 or email: jacquelinebyrd@johnmlewis.co.uk

We also have the following additional advice to all clients who may be worrying about their move during this uncertain time and you are always welcome to contact your dedicated conveyancer for any additional advice and guidance.

John M Lewis & Co Client Update: As reasonable employers and business owners, we are committed to taking reasonable precautions within our control to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus whilst maintaining full business services.  This is going to involve reducing non-essential client meetings and having some staff working from home at certain times.  With our IT focussed business, we are confident that there will be little or no disruption to our service.

However, there are special legal considerations for clients who are entering contracts for the sale and purchase of properties.  Once you instruct us to exchange contracts to buy/sell your property, you will be legally committed to complete your transaction on the agreed completion date.  The standard contract provides remedies/penalties (sometimes financial) for the rare occasion when you or someone within your chain fails to complete.  The standard contract does not, unsurprisingly, specifically provide for a failed completion due to a Coronavirus situation anywhere in your chain.  The Law Society and others are considering the situation and, as time passes, we will begin to understand how Coronavirus affects the home moving process and those involved in it.  We may then be able to include (upon your instruction) a recommended and accepted contingency clause in your contract.  If you proceed to exchange now, we will do all we are able to make sure you complete on time and if your completion is then delayed (for whatever reason) we will do all we are able to mitigate any loss or inconvenience suffered by you.

We are hopeful that solicitors, banks, lenders and removal companies will be very much “business as usual” and if there are any problems, that parties will work together and take a pragmatic approach to ensure that transactions complete as quickly as possible.  However, we must be alive to the possibility that we could reach a time where there are delays, for example with lenders releasing mortgage funds, other parties’ solicitors not being fully operational or removal companies being short staffed or having access issues.  With co-operation, there are ways in which these issues can be resolved.  However, we would encourage you to check with all those involved in your conveyancing transaction prior to exchange of contracts to consider the length of time you need between exchange and completion and think about arrangements you could make should you or a member of your family need to self-isolate during the moving period. 

At present we anticipate that transactions will proceed as normal and there is no reason to be unduly concerned or change any plans, but we wanted to highlight this to you, and reassure you that we have given consideration to the current situation, have plans in place and will continue to monitor developments.

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