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What Impact Has COVID-19 Had on Conveyancing in Scotland?

When COVID-19 first became the topic of discussion, few people realised just how big the impact of this pandemic would be. In Scotland, many industries have been affected with businesses having to shut down completely if not deemed “essential”. While many people would consider their property move essential, government guidelines and closures have affected the moving process.

Below, we’ll look at how things changed over the past few months and what the future of conveyancing in Scotland looks like.

Land Register Closure

When COVID-19 resulted in a lockdown in the UK back in March, things changed a lot. In March, the land register closed, meaning that it wouldn’t be possible for ownership and mortgage deeds to be registered.

As a result of this, the banks stated that they would not release mortgage funds until the land register opened again. As you can imagine, this meant that a lot of settlements could not take place.

This issue caused a lot of unrest as all parties involved were unsure about how they should progress. In April, an agreement was reached that allowed the land register to partially reopen and for these deeds to be registered.

Can House Purchases Be Settled?

Over the past few months, there have been some special cases where house purchases could be settled. Our solicitors at MM Legal have been adhering to guidelines set out by both the Scottish government and the Law Society. These guidelines state that purchases should only be settled in certain circumstances.  

According to Scottish government guidelines set out previously, anyone who is shielding from the virus or has symptoms should not move home. Typically, the circumstances required to proceed with the sale have been assessed on a case to case basis by all parties involved.

What to Expect

We know that many of our clients have been unable to proceed with their move over the past few months and this has caused a lot of stress. It is hoped that the restrictions on conveyancing in Scotland will be eased once Scotland moves into Phase 2 as set out by Nicola Sturgeon. The First Minister has recently said that she is ‘hopeful’ that Phase 2 will begin in the next week.

Reports suggest that once Phase 2 begins, surveyors and estate agents will be able to return to work. At this time, we expect home reports to be completed, viewings to take place and for new homes to appear on the market. While there is no guarantee of this just yet, we are continuing to stay up to date with the latest guidance from the Law Society and the Scottish government.

Get in Touch

As restrictions begin to ease and you proceed with the sale of your home, we encourage you to get in touch with our team. When it comes to conveyancing in Scotland, Erika Watt will guide you through the process and help get the sale through with minimal issues. Get in touch today to find out more.