A Glimmer of Light

Richard Snape, a leading speaker on conveyancing law, provides an update on the Health Protection Regulation 2020 in relation to the residential housing market.


The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2020 were introduced on 12 May and came to force in England on 13 May.  There is no similar legislation for the rest of the United Kingdom.


Amongst other matters it allows people to undertake the following activities in connection with the purchase, sale, letting or renting of residential property:

  • visiting estate or letting agents, developer sale offices or show homes;
  • viewing residential property to look for a property to buy or rent;
  • preparing a residential property to move in;
  • moving home;
  • visiting a residential property to undertake any activities required for the rental or sale of that property


Whilst carrying out such activities people must follow detailed guidance on social distancing and a risk assessment should be carried out in relation to the property.


The above clearly covers the work of estate agents and removal firms and would appear to also cover any survey and a valuation.  As conveyancing can largely be carried out remotely, then the conveyancers are not directly affected.  We are awaiting amended guidance from The Law Society.  Currently, a person cannot exchange contracts unless the property they are moving into is vacant.  We will have to see if this changes in the near future.  The provisions do not apply to commercial property but hopefully there will be an announcement in relation to this in the near future.


The Government has stated that 450,000 people have been unable to proceed with a house move since the lockdown was introduced in March.  In April, Zoopla reported that £82billion of house purchase was on hold.


Hopefully, this announcement is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel for residential conveyancers.


Richard Snape,  May 2020