New Zealand Law Society Property Law Section Guidelines

For advice for non-lawyers involved in real estate sales and settlements, see: Our Real Estate Department is a community for residential and commercial real estate practitioners. We provide support and advice through our magazine, webinars, events and case commentary. These guidelines are based on a statement by Andrew Beck. This initiative was commissioned by the Law Society to provide New Zealand lawyers with advice on laws and requirements regarding the ownership and retention of records at the end of the retainer. At COVID-19 alert level 3, it is possible to complete and move certain real estate sales and regulations if certain conditions are met. At Alert Level 3, all activities related to real estate sales and settlements should be conducted remotely to the extent possible. Property law guidelines approved by the Law Society`s Board of Directors can be found here. At COVID-19 alert level 4, all activities related to the sale of properties can only be carried out remotely and moving is only allowed in extreme circumstances. We provide advice, news and advice to lawyers working in residential and commercial real estate.

Our practical tools help investment lawyers by improving the efficiency and consistency of real estate transactions. Detailed information on property sales and settlements, as well as the conditions to be met during alert level 4, is also available at: Under section 36 of the Contracts and Commerce Act 2017, a party may have the right to terminate a contract if the other party terminates the contract (makes it clear that it will not honour the contract). A party may also terminate a contract if the requirements of the common law doctrine of “frustration” are met. However, it is not clear that these requirements will only be met due to the COVID-19 response. In addition, most contracts have specific requirements that must be met before termination can take place. This version of the PLS Guidelines is designed to be readable on the screen, with hyperlinks to other guidelines in the document and to external sources of information such as legislation and case law. With COVID-19 alert level 2, it is possible to make and conclude property sales and settlements in person, provided public health and physical distancing requirements are met. Guidelines for Real Estate Sales and Regulations During COVID-19 For key up-to-date information on COVID-19 alert levels and moving, selling or buying a property, visit the Unite Against COVID-19: Earlier versions are property@lawsociety.org.nz available upon request. It may still be possible to conclude a sale at alert level 4 if there is no movement of people, such as a rental property with tenants. If a real property settlement is pending during alert level 4, we recommend that the parties agree to postpone the settlement if possible.

Some agreements may contain a clause that allows for a processing delay. The purchase contract specifies what happens if one party is unable to reach an agreement. The agreement may allow one party to terminate the agreement and/or seek compensation if the other party is unable to complete the sale. If the agreement does not contain this clause, the legal situation is less clear. It`s best to talk to your client about the options. The ideal solution is to negotiate with the other party and reach an agreement. Lawyers can advise and support their clients in the best possible way, but they cannot prevent people from insisting on the strict application of their contractual rights. If this happens and no agreement can be reached, it could lead to legal proceedings that can be costly and unpredictable and can be significantly delayed in the current circumstances. Lawyers are encouraged to ensure that their clients are aware of the risks if the parties cannot agree. A buyer generally cannot terminate their contract due to their financial situation, unless the contract is related to financing. You should encourage your customers to discuss financial matters with you and their bank. Even if there is no relevant clause, the other party may be open to hearing about your client`s particular situation and be willing to enter into a mutually acceptable agreement given the unprecedented circumstances.

Removing, buying and selling your home(external link) The Law Society recommends giving lawyers the opportunity to review contracts before signing them. At alert level 2, documents can still be executed remotely if it is the preference of the lawyer or the client. Land Information New Zealand has issued preliminary guidance on requirements for remote identity verification and the use of electronic signatures during this period: Many agreements now contain a clause that allows regulation to be deferred until the alert level has been reduced to an alert level that allows for settlements. Lawyers and freight forwarders can still access Landonline remotely. Lawyers and carriers who want to retrieve their digital certificate from their work device should follow these steps: You should speak to your client ahead of time if additional work you need to do due to the COVID-19 response will incur additional costs. You are responsible for charging fair and reasonable fees and informing your customer how and when they will be charged. The goal of the COVID-19 response is to save lives. We must all respect the rules of physical distancing and only travel for the specific purposes allowed by the current alert level.

Around the world, millions of transactions are affected by COVID-19 in one way or another. Please continue to be kind, cooperate and try to find a good way forward that works for both sides in the face of these unprecedented circumstances. In any case, it will be possible to transfer ownership electronically if there are no other problems preventing the sale. Many lawyers and freight forwarders may work from home, but are available to their clients and have the necessary technology. In light of COVID-19, a temporary amendment to the Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988 was made to allow a continuing power of attorney to be attested and executed remotely. For more information on this change, see: Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) Landonline`s electronic land registry remains operational and allows lawyers to register relevant documents such as transfers or mortgages. Documents sent to LINZ by mail or courier will still be accepted, but processing times may be longer due to the fact that some LINZ employees work remotely. Visit the Law Society`s website for COVID-19 information and related legal advice: COVID-19: Information on LINZ services(external link) Information for those who must take oaths, obtain assurances or make statements during the COVID-19 pandemic Your weekly update from the Law Society`s Public Affairs team on the latest developments and debates in Parliament and Whitehall Response Information government to COVID-19 and alert levels can be found at:. New sales contracts should include a clause in the agreement to delay settlement until there is a level of warning that allows settlements. They should also include a clause allowing for postponing confirmation dates of other conditions if it is not possible to complete due to a restriction of the alert level. We welcome the government`s plans to address the costume crisis as a step in the right direction.

Every situation is different. In most cases, both parties will want to find a way to sell. Finding a mutually acceptable agreement is the best approach to avoid litigation and litigation that can be long, stressful and costly. No. There is no automatic reset at each alert level. Some contracts may include a clause that postpones settlement at certain alert levels or when the two parties cannot agree. This could be the case if there are technological problems with the regulation. At Alert Level 2, lawyers can meet with clients in person and draft documents, as long as all public health and physical distancing requirements are met. When meeting with clients in person, you must maintain a physical distance of 2 metres at all times and follow all public health recommendations, including disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and objects.

LINZ Transferring your digital certificate(external link) LINZ has published preliminary guidance on requirements for remote identity verification and the use of electronic signatures during this period: The Bar Association is managed by and for our members. We are the voice of lawyers, fostering excellence in the profession and protecting the rule of law.