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It has been widely reported that Registers of Scotland closed the applications record last week. In response, the Law Society of Scotland released a recommendation to the effect that  purchase/sale/security transactions should not be completed until Registers of Scotland are in a position to clarify next steps.

At present, the process of completing a registrable transaction involves a number of key steps. The first of these is the submission of an ‘’Advance Notice’’ in the run up to completion. Clients are not, generally, aware of the importance of Advance Notices, however, following closure of the application record, the importance of Advance Notices has been thrown into sharp focus.

The Coronavirus Bill which was passed by the Scottish Parliament on 1st April 2020 and is expected to receive Royal Assent early next week, provides the Scottish government with a range of emergency powers which will have a substantial impact on the property sector throughout Scotland.

Financial Assistance for Landlords

Included in these new measures is the announcement of financial assistance for Landlords who suffer loss as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Stronachs’ earlier release Irritancy (termination) of leases in Scotland discussed measures brought into force in England, Wales and Northern Ireland by the Coronavirus Act 2020. On Tuesday and earlier than expected, the “Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill”, was fast-tracked through Holyrood.  

We are living through a perfect storm. Russia has withdrawn from the OPEC+ arrangement and both Saudi Arabia and Russia are ramping up production. At the same time demand is being destroyed by the measures required to combat the spread of Covid-19. The oil price has crashed. It is 30th March 2020 and this morning Brent Crude Oil Futures are sitting at slightly under $23 per barrel. 

On 26 March 2020 the Working Time (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020  (“WTCA Regulations”) were made, coming into force with immediate effect. These regulations affect rights of workers to carry over holidays which they were unable to take due to coronavirus.

The UK and Scottish Governments have taken a number of measures to help companies weather the Coronavirus crisis. These include the Business Interruption Loan Scheme (Scheme) which has been introduced by the UK Government to provide SMEs with access to loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million.  This support has been welcomed by businesses coming to terms with the economic consequences of the current crisis but taking advantage of these sources of funding is not always straightforward; borrowing needs to be repaid and directors are subject to director duties and rules on wrongful trading which can result in directors incurring personal liability.

Those in the process of moving home or who are planning to do so in the near future, will doubtless already be aware that sales and purchases of residential property have been severely disrupted as a result of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.

What are the main problems?

  • Registers of Scotland has closed and it is not yet known when it will re-open.

The Law Society of Scotland has issued guidance on the correct procedures for Solicitors taking Will instructions from new and existing clients during this period when face to face meetings with clients are not possible.

Witnessing

Particularly welcome is the guidance on the situation where it is not possible for a witness to be present in person during the signing process.

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