Positive signs for the Scottish property market came to light ahead of the weekend as mortgage lenders and the Law Society of Scotland agreed temporary measures that should unblock house sale transactions close to completion.
In a frustrating twist to the Covid-19 fallout, many transactions were put on hold after Registers of Scotland (RoS) closed the official register for new documents, citing staff health risks
and the lack of a cloud-based system to facilitate remote working. A technical legal fix has been agreed, which means most major lenders should now release mortgage funds allowing held up transactions to complete.
It is unsure at this point as to how quickly everything will fall into place and there may be further delay in any home sales being agreed, but we all remain optimistic of a swift fix. Earlier this week, RoS proposed replacing registrations on the Land Register temporarily with “advance notices”. The aim was to provide sufficient legal cover to secure transactions.
Many solicitors have stalled on home sales, leaving many buyers and sellers facing the cost of cancelled removals and securing continued accommodation. These are mostly home sales agreed weeks before the virus outbreak escalated.
On Tuesday, the law society advised solicitors not to settle transactions, following the RoS move. It later revised that advice while it considered the new RoS proposals.
We continue to liaise with our colleagues across multiple law firms to encourage and support a speedy resolve.