The property market has been hit hard by the coronavirus crisis, but now mortgage lenders are beginning to introduce new measures to make things easier for people looking to buy or sell during this tough time. The aim is to reduce the amount of disruption caused to such transactions by COVID-19 in the coming months.


We have outlined some measure that we have come across ourselves, and we hope that they may be of help to our readers interested or involved in conveyancing.


Remote legal advice can be acceptable


Whenever there is potential conflict of interest issues or other occupiers rather than the mortgagees themselves, lenders will ask the relevant persons to seek independent legal advice and for a certificate to be sent to the lender to confirm that this has been satisfied. Such advice is normally done face-to-face. With the social distance rules in place, more and more lenders are starting to accept remote advice. It is worth enquiring with your specific lender if this is a possibility.


Property searches may not be demanded


In light of the fact that many solicitors have been unable to obtain property searches for their clients or had such searches severely delayed, to enable transactions to progress without delay, many lenders may be willing to accept in lieu of searches a “no-Search” indemnity insurance policy to cover any risks associated with proceeding with the transaction without search results being received.


Lenders may accept expired searches


In order to make sure their customers are able to complete within the period of their mortgage offer, where searches received in respect of the security property have, due to any delay in the transaction, recently expired, lenders may accept search indemnity insurance policies in lieu of customers obtaining a new set of searches. Once again, please do not hesitate to check with your lender.


Of course, not everything comes so easily. With the uncertainty caused by Covid-19, more and more lenders are also asking mortgagees to make further declarations to confirm that they have considered the financial risks and any other risks associated with the completion of their mortgage in this challenging economic environment and that they are still willing to go ahead with the mortgage.


The declaration may include confirmation of a stable financial position, no plan of requesting a mortgage holiday in the near future, and an understanding that the mortgagees may be contacted by the lenders if need be.


Such declarations may have to be signed before lenders are willing to make available any funds.


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