The Conveyancing Association (CA) has provided member firms and affiliates with guidance on how to proceed with housing transactions within ‘local lockdown’ areas.
Leicester was the first area in the country to be subject to a targeted lockdown due to spikes in COVID-19, and the CA has worked with the government, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, and other industry bodies to provide details on how property chains can proceed in this environment.
As part of its work with the Home Buying & Selling Group (HBSG), the CA has agreed that house moves can proceed, but is urging members and affiliates to keep a watching brief on government information and local lockdown web pages.
The guidance suggests that, unless otherwise stated or legislated by government or Public Health guidance, property market stakeholders can continue to process transactions and move people within areas subject to local lockdowns, as long as they ensure all necessary protections are employed, and that home movers are aware of their responsibilities in terms of protecting others.
The CA stressed that it is up to individual companies as to whether they continue to operate and have contact with others in the course of the work they carry out.
Beth Rudolf, director of delivery at the CA, said: “The industry has come together quickly in order to provide feedback to government on the situation in ‘local lockdown’ areas, and I’m pleased to say that we believe it is possible to proceed with transactions and moves within those locales, as long as firms continue to follow all the guidance and ensure the necessary protections are in place.
“We must stress though that this could change as soon as government produces the new legislation for localised lockdown and everyone should keep themselves up to date on developments.
“Unfortunately, we anticipate that Leicester is unlikely to be the only area impacted in the future, but it does mean that, should other local lockdowns be introduced, the property industry is in a place to keep chains moving and to ensure our clients can go ahead with their moves as safely as possible and do all they can to avoid spreading the virus.
“We will continue to keep on top of future developments and continue to provide guidance should the situation require it.”
Lloyd Davies, operations director of the CA, added: “The recent decision by the government to introduce a local lockdown in Leicester shows that there are likely to be ongoing issues for property firms and stakeholders working here and in other areas which are likely to be subject to the same measures in the future, because of spikes in COVID-19.
“It is a moveable feast and will clearly impact on the ability to proceed with transactions in those impacted cities, towns and regions.
“However, the good news is that the majority of England at least will not be impacted.
“We wish the same could be said for Wales, and we continue to call for the government there to follow the lead in England, opening up the housing market further before the damage inflicted on the Welsh economy becomes even more devastating.
“We’ve seen how the market can continue to operate efficiently and effectively in England, and seen the significant pent-up demand and activity that has been unleashed as a result.
“Now is definitely the time to allow a similar situation to unfold in Wales.”