UK home buyers are facing potentially difficult circumstances as the stamp duty holiday nears its end on March 31st due to a shortage of removal companies. There is a surge of property owners rushing to complete their transactions and move before the deadline.
Several reports and property experts are in fear of a bottle neck, with so many home moves trying to complete before the 31st of March that the removal industry will not be able to cater for leaving potential chains to collapse.
Other suggestions are that if people have not been able to secure a removals firm then in order to keep the sale from proceeding, they will have to stay in the home until they can secure one.
This also could prove to be a major issue, because even if one part of the chain has a removal company it does not mean that someone further along the chain has done so. Further delays could easily happen and could repeat itself until everyone has secured a mover.
Although it may not seem that staying in a sold property is a problem, you can’t be held responsible for what happens in there between exchange and completion, as it is understood within the building’s insurance industry.
The removals industry is under immense pressure not only because of the volume of home moves but due to the COVID-19 pandemic and therefore removal firms are working at less than full capacity due to restrictions.
Movers are also in a difficult position of ensuring that they do not lose slots where their resources are allocated to jobs. This means that non refundable deposits are almost certainly in place and this increases the potential cost quite drastically as dates often change.
Moving aspects to consider
Most moves are usually scheduled to go ahead on a Friday, this makes it exceptionally difficult to secure a removal company as the bulk of chains will be pushed for the end of the week. It would be prudent to try and organise the completion of the chain earlier in the week. The chance of securing a mover is significantly increased and keeping a chain rolling.
There is an added disadvantage to moving on a Friday as several removal firms charge extra for end of week home completions, so it is just another aspect that is worth looking into when considering the cost implications. There are also reports of companies seeing the opportunity to increase prices due to the high demand of home moves and it is advised that this should be another aspect people should look into when considering what removals company you should use.
Exchange and Completion
On average the time frame of exchange and completion is 2 weeks, however due to COVID-19 solicitors are pushing for short exchange and completion dates. Although simultaneous exchange and completion dates did happen previously, it is on the rise and becoming more of the norm. Therefore the risk of dates changing are significantly increased and can cause major issues to all parties involved.
Amongst all of the other pitfalls of buying and selling a home, there is the potential for chains being disrupted due to the coronavirus. This is labelled as a “coronavirus event” and it essentially means that anything coronavirus-related that could potentially delay property deals.
“This can include:
- Absences or unavailability of staff at either side’s conveyancer, any lender or other finance provider, and any loss of, or disruption to, any of their facilities
- Any illness, quarantining or self-isolation, including precautionary self-isolation, of the buyer, seller or anyone living with either before completion, or who will live with them after completion
- Any measures taken by the Government to prevent the spread of coronavirus, such as local lockdowns
- Disruption to any services, such as electronic transmission of monies, the Post Office or the Document Exchange – a private postal service for lawyers and others – or unavailability of packers, movers or storage facilities
- If you are unable to get witnesses to sign documents because of a local lockdown
- If pre-completion searches or inspections can’t be made
- Any withdrawal by a bank, or expiry of, a mortgage offer due to coronavirus
- If another part of the chain collapses because of a similar coronavirus event which was detailed in their contract.”
(taken form onthemarket.com)
All these could disrupt, delay or even cause a chain to fall through. Although all parties can serve notice to terminate the contract if the deal has not completed and deposits can be returned, there is a potential for a home owner not being able to move due to a coronavirus-related event to be liable for any extra costs others in the chain have had to pay. There is also the potential that without the clause is inserted in the contract, one could be sued for breach of contract.
Speaking to your solicitor to ensure that this clause has been inserted into your contract is incredibly important.
A fantastic option, although an added cost, is to move belongings into storage to stop any possible hiccups of not being able to secure a removals firm. The added cost could potentially save a delay in the completion of the chain or it falling through and this current climate there are several possible issues that could cause this.
Read more about finding the right storage site and service that fits best.
If the government does not consider changing the stamp duty deadline then a potential collapse of several house sales could lead to a knock on effect on the housing market.
Here at We Like 2 Move It Bristol Ltd Removals & Storage, we are certainly seeing the volume of moves and enquiries and have not seen this kind pattern ever before. We are busier than ever and we have major concerns as to how it will pan out over the next few months.
We definitely urge all home movers to try and confirm your date and secure your removal company as soon as possible so you don’t miss out.
In response we are using a pencilled in system to try and accommodate all our prospective customers and try to prevent a loss of deposits. Although we need to make sure we do not lose out on work and cover our overheads, taking money for lost deposits is something we would rather not have to do.