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Lockdown and moving house - is it actually possible?

(287 Posts)
LeaveTheBottle Mon 23-Mar-20 14:16:50


Quick bit of background - we are in a medium chain. All surveys and valuations done. Mortgages in, searches and enquires mostly done so waiting for the final loose ends to be tied up and then should have agreed exchange and completion dates in the next couple of weeks I would think.

Apparently everyone in the chain is keen to get things moving full steam ahead (as it stands) and nobody has yet expressed cold feet, but I am still very anxious.

If we do go into lockdown before we have a completion date set up, can we actually physically move? I hear in some countries who are in lockdown, moving house is permitted, with the necessary precautions I assume. I can't imagine removals companies being open for business though, but then maybe there is a way this could be done if we all kept our distance??... confused Can't see how we could do it without them.

Is there anyone in the know about this? I can't stand to think we'll be stuck here indefinitely. It's taken us a couple of years to get to this point and it's been hell. It really has been a nightmare.


icebearforpresident Mon 23-Mar-20 14:31:55

I’m an estate agent and we are in absolute limbo. We just don’t know if the sales we have lined up will conclude (in Scotland so this is like you exchanging contracts) or even if the concluded sales (so everyone is locked in) will settle. If the solicitors are able to keep working, everyone is healthy and we aren’t in lockdown I suppose in theory you can but i suspect you won’t know until you either move or it falls through. The only advice I can give is keep your fingers crossed and prepare for each scenario.

Keep in mind that even if your sale completes and you can move you literally may not be too, I’m thinking removals companies etc. Are you going far or can you throw everything into a van?

LeaveTheBottle Mon 23-Mar-20 14:55:18

Thanks for replying @icebearforpresitdent

We are only moving 15 minutes away. We could just about do it ourselves, but I doubt in one day. It would be a nightmare really.

For our last move we had 2 removals men and a lorry and it still took the entire day and we were only round the corner that time.

Actually thinking about it, I'm not even sure we'd be able to hire a van in a lockdown, as I've done this before and we still needed to go into the office, sign paperwork etc.

Our buyers are BTL investors. I wonder if they'd be willing to let us move our stuff out gradually, over a few days? I don't know where we would stand legally with that. Could a solicitor draw up a contract to say the house is legally their property from x date, but everything inside the property belongs to us until x date? I have no idea. I guess the whole chain will have the sa8 issue though, so if we can't get a van or removals, then neither will they and if they can't move, then neither can we.

It's just not going to happen is it. Our mortgage approvals will run out soon too sad

letusmove Mon 23-Mar-20 15:07:47

I'm wondering if we are in the same chain! There is a BTL involved. We are all ready to go but waiting on the Land Registry to do something. I wish I knew the answer. I'm torn between wanting a lockdown for CV reasons, but not wanting it in the hope that we can complete first

LeaveTheBottle Mon 23-Mar-20 16:19:33

@letusmove, stranger things have happened wink You never know..

I know what you mean. I can't see the reasons against going into lockdown, but from a selfish point of view, I'm so desperate to be able to move.

Vintagevixen Mon 23-Mar-20 16:46:33

Hi! I like you am in the middle of moving house (London), though I did exchange two weeks ago so we are locked in. Due to complete 1st April.

Moving company has been today to pack and will load tomorrow, I was talking to them and they said they are still taking new bookings, plus have taken on extra staff because of Corona. Solicitors can work remotely/from home for completion.

Vintagevixen Mon 23-Mar-20 16:49:59

Know the feeling of being desperate to move, mine is a divorce and it's taken us three years to get here! I'm also an ITU nurse so this is preventing me getting back to work when I'm most needed.

LeaveTheBottle Mon 23-Mar-20 17:01:28

@Vintagevixen (great name) it sounds as though you're all set! It's obviously been a long time coming.

LeaveTheBottle Mon 23-Mar-20 19:10:27

Just giving this a bump

MinnieMountain Mon 23-Mar-20 20:26:42

I'm a conveyancing solicitor. We've been working remotely for weeks, as have many other firms. The Law Society haven't said we can't continue.

alliecader Mon 23-Mar-20 20:58:08

We are between exchange and completion, moving from England to Scotland in 2 weeks' time. Desperate for guidance. Is this classed as an essential need for travel? We literally won't own the house we're in two weeks from today. The people who have bought our house are local. There is also the difference between Scottish and English law here, the missives having been exchanged. Any estate agents or solicitors on here, do please comment. We are in touch with ours but to no effect. Not that I blame them.

mbish0gg Mon 23-Mar-20 21:09:01

We are also between exchange and completion, with the moving date set for this Weds (i.e. in less than 36 hours). We are moving 20 mins away (in London) and cannot move ourselves - we are having the removals company pack and move us. Also desperate for some clear guidance.

jimtregartha Mon 23-Mar-20 21:29:14

We exchanged last Tuesday and are set to complete on Thursday (26th March). No issues with us moving in as we can take most things by car however our sellers have a removal company booked and may not be able to move out??

Any help appreciated!

ShirleyAnnV Mon 23-Mar-20 21:40:10

We are completing on Thursday (26th). The legal process is not the issue. I'm in conveyancing and we are working remotely however I'm wondering if moving house is considered essential. I would think so as we are bound to complete and be out of our current house. But the removal company... like many of you I'm worried that they will cancel which leaves us in a bit of a pickle! I guess it will become clear tomorrow but you would have thought Boris would have mentioned situations that ate legally compelling people to do something! What an awful situation.

lineandsinker Mon 23-Mar-20 21:46:01

We are due to exchange and complete simultaneously next Monday (30th). We were originally meant to exchange today and complete on the 7th but our solicitors all agreed to bring things forward today.

Fingers crossed it can all still go through - our removals company said they’d still be operating during a lock down when I spoke to them earlier on today. We are buying a new build from a small developer (only 2 houses in the development) - our reservation expires this week and we’d be gutted to lose it.

HedleyRoberts Mon 23-Mar-20 21:55:59

We’re at the top of a long chain, and we’re going into rental - Margate to Wakefield!. Our completion is due 3rd April. We could move with a van / or a company if they are still working. We don’t know if this is allowed during lockdown. Otherwise I guess all those in in the chain ask the rest to act in good faith? So confused!

LeaveTheBottle Mon 23-Mar-20 22:00:29

Well I suppose now that it's official, we should be able to get some clarity.

Campervan69 Mon 23-Mar-20 22:06:02

@MinnieMountain sorry to tag you but I'm desperate for advice. I'm also a conveyancer and my boss is refusing to let us work from home. I have children at home so I can't leave them on their own can't get grandparents to look after them so need to be able to work from home but he's making me take unpaid leave at the moment. Is there anything I can do about this to force him to allow me to work from home?

Hollywal Mon 23-Mar-20 22:10:55

Hi! New on this. Signed up for this specific post! We are in the process of buying and due to exchange and complete this week. Our solicitor emailed last week and recommended exchanging and completing on the same day incase anything like this happened then we aren’t liable for any fees and losses of completion doesn’t go ahead on an agreed date because of lock down. Now I’m not sure if anything will go ahead this week? As I’m sure solicitors will be working from home etc but it’s the actual moving house, and if that’s classed as essential?! This is all so surreal! What a time to buy a house shock

Xx12345 Mon 23-Mar-20 22:13:53

I’m meant to move into a large rented property in a couple of days. I can’t stop crying since the announcement as I am so stressed I am cramped into a one bed property with a baby and will really suffer mentally if I am locked down in here for months 😞

Wordofwarning Mon 23-Mar-20 22:18:47

@Vintagevixen just out of curiosity who is moving you <nosey and hoping it’s a possibility 🤞>

Rlw2020 Mon 23-Mar-20 22:20:39

Hi, we are due to exchange and complete this week. I am so worried, we are completely packed up! Please can anyone post what they hear from their solicitors/conveyancers tomorrow? I am going to try and speak to mine.

Hollywal Mon 23-Mar-20 22:24:51

@Rlw2020 I’m going to give them a call/email in the morning so I will post on here! Please do the same if you get in contact with yours. We were planning on overlapping renting and the new house for a month so we can decorate, gets floors down etc. But that’s looking v unlikely as won’t be able to buy anything!

Vintagevixen Mon 23-Mar-20 22:25:23

Hi they are called Chelmsford removals, I am in NE London.
If you check the lockdown details it does say that people ( ie the removal company employees) can still travel to work as they cannot work from home. They are also not restricting travel in and out of London on the roads. Mine are loading tomorrow so fingers crossed!

Conrad79 Mon 23-Mar-20 22:30:03

Similar situation! Will find out more info tomorrow.

I don’t think moving house is essential travel (that’s my main concern. We’re moving 2 mins up the road!!)

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