What happens if you have agreed to buy or sell a property during the Covid-19 lockdown period?
There are a number of problems with trying to complete the sale or purchase of a property during the alert level 4 period:
– You cannot visit somebody else’s house to do a final inspection.
– You cannot go to see a lawyer to sign the legal paperwork.
– The lockdown restrictions prevent you from physically moving house.
– Furniture moving firms may be unable to operate.
– Potentially not being able to connect services such as gas or electricity.
New Zealand does not have a set process to deal with these unique circumstances. If one party wants to move in to the property then it is recommended that settlement be deferred until after the lockdown period ends. For example both parties could agree to defer settlement to the 10th working day after the Government reduces the Covid-19 level to level 2 or below.
Both parties should agree to the best approach in the circumstances. This may not be the same approach as someone else. This is a challenging time and the vendor and purchaser should be encouraged to work together to achieve the best outcome for all.
There may still be some circumstances where settlement can go ahead during the lockdown period. This might be where tenants are staying on in the property and there are no issues with signing all the paperwork and obtaining funding.