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25 August 2021

Buying or selling a property during lockdown

What can be done in relation to property transactions under various Alert Levels?

Property Sales and Purchases in Alert Level 4

  • At Alert Level 4, property settlements can only be completed if people are not moving from their lockdown address (people can only move house under extreme circumstances, for example for care while sick or to seek refuge in a women’s refuge accommodation). 
  • Under Alert Level 4, it is an offence to move around for more than an essential business. Real Estate transactions are not an essential business and moving companies cannot operate, so settlements should be deferred until the person or movement restrictions are lifted.
  • Some settlements may be able to proceed, particularly where they involve tenanted property or vacant land. 
  • Each situation is different and there is a no “one size fits all” approach. 
  • Although the Saunders Robinson Brown team cannot meet you face-to-face at present, we can connect with you using technology, and (where allowed) attend to witnessing any legal documents required for your sale or purchase via video-conferencing.
  • We can complete settlements remotely and continue to undertake all legal due diligence relating to property sales and purchases.

Alert Level 3

  • Should we move to Alert Level 3, then based on what we have learnt from previous lockdowns, we expect:
    • Moving house will be permitted – including between regions with different Alert Levels.  If you are crossing into a region at a different alert level, you should carry documents to support your reason for travel.
    • Professionals such as property inspectors, valuers, engineers and trades people can visit properties if the property’s occupants agree, and providing they comply with public health and industry specific guidelines around such visits.
    • Based on previous experience, viewings of properties are possible in limited situations and under certain conditions.  You may have to use virtual methods to complete house viewings and pre-settlement inspections.
  • At Alert Level 3, all documents should continue to be signed remotely.

Alert Level 2

  • At Alert Level 2, it is possible to conduct and complete property sales and purchases in person as long as the necessary public health and physical distancing requirements are complied with.
  • People can move house, including between regions with different alert levels.
  • Open homes can take place and property professionals may visit the property (as long as the necessary public health and physical distancing requirements are complied with).

If you have any specific questions or want any clarification regarding the above, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the SRB Property team.

 

Disclaimer

The above information is of a general nature only.  The information contained in this document does in no way constitute legal advice and all readers should contact a law firm for advice relating to your specific circumstances.

Chris Boivin

About Chris Boivin

Chris is a Partner advising clients on a wide range of matters. He assists with both commercial, rural and residential property matters, as well as business transactions and asset planning.

View all posts by Chris Boivin
Mark Bond

About Mark Bond

Mark is a member of our Property Team. He assists clients with various residential and commercial property transactions, including associated company and trust structuring.

View all posts by Mark Bond
Callan Wilson

About Callan Wilson

Callan joined Saunders Robinson Brown in 2018. He is a member of our Property Team.

View all posts by Callan Wilson