Generally speaking, home moves into occupied property should only take place where contracts have already been exchanged and it has been proved impossible for the parties involved to agree a deferral.
In the case of an occupied properties it may be possible to exchange contracts and complete simultaneously provided that the contract provides some form of inbuilt safety mechanism to defer completion in the event that the virus has some effect on the completion date
At the end of the day common sense needs to prevail with the overriding factor being the health of individuals and the public as a matter of priority.
Any changes to existing contracts need to be in writing in accordance with existing law to have full effect.
In relation to litigation, the courts have restricted in-person hearings and more hearings are now taking place by video and remote access.
Time limits still need to be observed and, in the event, that extensions are needed applications will need to be made to the Court
Even though access to the Court is more restricted with delays being encountered in obtaining hearings nevertheless it is important to record rights of claim with proper pre-action protocol letters to record rights. Once the situation resolves itself then reliance will be placed on the preaction correspondence
In the field of landlord and tenant although the Government has restricted possession proceedings never less in order to protect rights of both landlord and tenant it is important to record any changes to the arrangements in writing and to make sure that these do not prejudice your position as either landlord or tenant before any agreement is reached.
In view of the obvious uncertainty, it may be prudent to look at whether agreements can be reached on resolution or early agreement to avoid costly delays later on in the process.
If you wish further advice on this then please contact us.