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Why the Bank Holiday might affect your house sale

What if you are due to complete a purchase or sale on the 19th?

On Monday September 19th there will be a Bank Holiday across the country to mark the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.

Recognised as a National Day of Mourning, it has been confirmed that schools and colleges will be closed, and that many businesses will also allow staff to take the day off to pay their respects to Her Majesty.

While many businesses involved in the purchase or sale of a house – including estate agents, removal companies and law firms - can apply discretion as to whether they remain open, the Bank Holiday does mean banks will close, which means that completions due on the 19th will have to be moved.

Our conveyancing expert, Richard Joy, explains what both buyers and sellers need to know under the circumstances:

Will there be any legal consequences?

“Firstly, don’t panic,” Richard explains. “While I appreciate it may be frustrating that the sale will be delayed a day or so, rest assured that there will be no legal ramifications as a result of failing to complete on the specified day.”

Richard explains that according to the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971 section 1, if there is a proclamation to appoint a special day to be a Bank Holiday, ‘no person shall be compellable to make any payment or to do any act on a bank holiday under this Act which he would not be compellable to make or do on Christmas Day or Good Friday’.


Will a new completion date need to be agreed?

“If you have exchanged contracts or are about to exchange contracts, and Monday 19th is set as your completion date, then speak to your conveyancer as soon as possible about the options you have,” Richard urges.

“Your conveyancer will need to liaise with the other parties in the chain (if applicable) and will look to agree a new completion date on your behalf. They may produce what is known as a short Contract variation which puts new timings in place.

“This can be signed by your solicitor on your behalf with your authorisation, and while it will mean there are delays in getting moved into (or out of) your home, it will at least provide some certainty on what will happen and when.

“Your conveyancer will also liaise with the bank and check any mortgage funds can be drawn down on the newly agreed date.


What about moving arrangements?

“Once that has been actioned, you will no doubt want to turn your mind towards the actual move, including arranging or re-arranging removal vans, scheduling broadband installation, and securing updated car and home insurance.

“While it’s natural to feel a bit frustrated by the changes, try to remember that these are exceptional circumstances for everyone involved in the process, and it is important that everyone remains flexible so that a new date can be achieved and the sale can complete as soon as possible.”

Richard Joy
  • Director
  • Solicitor
  • Head of Residential Property

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