We haven’t exchanged contracts yet – what do we do if someone in the chain pulls out if they become ill or suffer financial loss due to coronavirus?

The best thing to do is talk to your solicitor and estate agent about helping to get the chain moving for an exchange of contracts as soon as possible. By moving to an exchanged position this will make the transaction legally binding.


Would communicating with other members in the chain help to progress and secure the purchase/sale?

Yes, you should communicate with other parties in the chain and work together to keep information flowing and everybody working towards a common aim to prevent things falling through.


I’m considering starting a sale/purchase process on a property – should I go ahead at this time of uncertainty?

Yes. Nothing is legally binding until you exchange contracts – so you can still get the ball rolling now and then assess your options in the coming weeks/months.


I’ve already exchanged contracts – what happens if someone in the chain defaults?

If someone in the chain defaults, your solicitor can advise you on your options. For instance, if everyone is in agreement, the move can be delayed. Or a 10 working day notice can be served. After the 10 days, you would be able to claim compensation from the other side, or apply for a court order to force them to complete.

Alternatively, you could just leave the clock ticking and keep your options open.


I’ve exchanged contracts – but what if I (or a family member) becomes ill or my financial situation changes and I need to default or try to pull out?

All contracts can be varied or released if everybody involved agrees, so your solicitor could look to try and negotiate a release from the contract or a suggest a delay to avoid any forfeiture of deposits.

Time only becomes a problem if one of the parties in the chain serves a 10 working day notice. However if no one in the chain is minded to serve such a notice, then the clock can be left ticking until everybody is ready.

The most important thing to do is obtain professional advice promptly.



This information was correct at the time of publication on 23rd March 2020