With the latest Covid19 announcements, all of New Zealand has entered a Level 4 lockdown that will last at least until Wednesday for the Auckland/Coromandel area, and Friday for the rest of New Zealand including the Canterbury region. If you have a property settlement happening in the next few days, or next week, then you might understandably be worried about what is going to happen.
The starting point is the conditions in your Agreement for Sale and Purchase. Following the national lockdown in March/April last year, many Lawyers and Real Estate Agents have inserted bespoke ‘Covid Clauses’ in these contracts in order to provide guidance during lockdown periods given that the personal movement of people is restricted at the higher Alert Levels. This includes deferring settlement until such time as the restrictions on the physical movement of people are lifted.
If there is not a ‘Covid Clause’ in your Agreement, then the lawyers on each side of the transaction should negotiate a delayed settlement date, as any settlement which involves the movement of people from their place of residence is not permitted at alert level 4. Moving at alert level 3 should only be contemplated if the appropriate regulations are not breached and any risks of transmission are eliminated or minimised as much as possible.
In terms of preparing for a settlement, all of our staff are working remotely, and we have processes in place to organise and prepare documents ahead of settlement so we can meet with clients via video calling and transact settlements remotely.
If you have any questions about your upcoming settlement, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team. Each situation is different, and so working with your lawyer to reach the best outcome possible in the circumstances is the best thing you can do moving forward.
Our staff are happy to assist you with any issues you have, and we look forward to being able to see clients face to face again soon.