The Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment has announced that property transactions stalled during Alert Level 4 can now proceed under Level 3, provided safety precautions are followed.
Director of WRMK Lawyers Warkworth, Patrick Steuart, says Alert Level 3 loosens restrictions on buyers and sellers.
This includes people with existing transactions with a settlement date set for Level 2. They can now secure an earlier settlement date under Level 3 as long as both parties agree.
But Mr Steuart says it is important that buyers and sellers make sure they are able to book a removal company to manage their move in line with safety guidelines, and can maintain adequate physical distancing during the move and pre-settlement phase.
“Planning ahead to know how you’re going to maintain physical distancing during the moving process, and to enable settlement, is important before you move your dates,” he says.
“Think about how you will sign the necessary documents. Is your lawyer able to help you sign documents remotely? Do they have your files online? Can you complete your pre-settlement inspection with the appropriate physical distancing in place?”
Steuart says taking legal advice before signing any contracts is especially important.
“Buyers need to make sure their contracts provide for longer time frames to organise building inspections, get LIM reports and get finance approvals, as banks, councils and other providers deal with a pick-up in demand for these services again,” he says.
The Real Estate Institute of New Zealand has confirmed agents are allowed to conduct viewings by appointment under Alert Level 3 provided they have appropriate safety plans in place.