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31 Mar 2020

International Investors Buying UK Real Estate: Advice and UK Government guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic

The UK Government has recently published official and detailed advice on selling, buying and moving home in the UK during the coronavirus (COVID-19).

This has been published here. The advice guides buyers, sellers and those involved with the conveyancing process (including Estate Agents) about what is allowed under the current social distancing rules.

It should be noted that the current restrictions in practice predominately affect owners or occupiers currently resident in the UK who are physically moving home themselves.

The current UK guidelines do NOT apply to international investors who are:

  • Buying for investment purposes with vacant possession;
  • Buying for future occupation as a holiday home;
  • Buying a new build property from a developer;
  • Buying second hand vacant property or
  • Buying a rental investment property with an existing tenant who is already in occupation.

Whilst transactions will be governed by the provisions in the contract, we are continuing to advise our international investor clients how to exchange and complete their property transactions (where no persons are physically moving in or out of properties). We have been completing property transactions where properties are empty or the parties agree that the seller can leave furniture in the property until it is safe to move.

Our Residential Team will revisit their advice to clients as the situation develops.