Below are a few examples of transactions we have dealt with over the last few weeks despite the restrictions placed on clients and professionals alike:
- Exchange of a joint venture agreement for 200 houses in Exeter.
The agreement was exchanged using scanned copies of the documents and adopting the Law Society’s approved virtual signing process. Our client’s original agreement was posted back to our Exeter office. The solicitors acting for both parties have an agreement that originals will be posted when they are both allowed back into their offices.
- Simultaneous exchange and completion of the sale of a property for a leading UK SIPP provider
Documents were signed again using the Law Society’s approved virtual signing process. Our client’s original wet ink documents were redirected to our Exeter office and we asked a colleague in Exeter to date the documents. Our facilities team then scanned in the documents and sent the originals to the buyer's solicitor who needed them for registration purposes. Both solicitors agreed the process before completion. We have agreed that the purchaser’s signed original documents will be sent to us once restrictions are lifted but scanned completed docs were provided in the meantime.
- Completion of a Deed of Variation for Subway Realty Limited to amend a Break Date in a Lease
This matter was time critical and the document was drafted and agreed in 48 hours. Engrossments were issued by email with our client executing by adopting Law Society virtual execution procedure and signature being witnessed through a window to observe government restriction and social distancing. The landlord’s ID for Land Registry ID1 form verified using Skype in accordance with guidance issued by our risk and compliance team. The process from initial instruction to completion was 72 hours!
- Lease agreed for 2 floors of an office block.
Our client was able to print engrossments and execute the document at home with his wife (not connected to the company) witnessing his signature at home. The client posted the signed Leases to our Bristol office which were then to Exeter office where the wet ink signatures were scanned and copies provided to colleague in Bristol by email. The tenant’s solicitor agreed this process and was happy to complete on the understanding that we would provide a scanned certified copy to enable them to submit their Land registry application through the Land registry portal with wet ink signature Leases to follow once restrictions removed and it was possible.
- Short term Lease of office block agreed within 24 hours of instruction with Tenant's solicitor.
Wet ink signatures were not required as due to short term of the Lease it was not a registrable disposition. The landlords notice to exclude security of tenure was issued and our client agreed to accept a simple declaration due to not being able to arrange to see independent solicitor to swear a statutory declaration. The lease was completed within 72 hours of instructions from the client.
- Completion of £3.5m refinance of Bristol office investment
We were able to complete a refinance transaction funded by a leading UK lender on the basis that scanned copies of the documents were sent to the bank before completion by email on the basis the lawyer dealing confirmed the originals were being held in the office and would be sent once restrictions were lifted. Our finance team remain operational and were able to receive funds from the bank and send them to the customer as normal. All documents were completed and registered electronically at Companies House and the Land Registry.
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