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Moving under times of Covid-19



As we learn to live life in and out of lockdowns, we are learning how to adapt legal issues to deal with our lockdowns. One of the issues that arises is moving house during different lockdown levels. This is particularly relevant to purchase and sale settlements. If the property being purchased is an investment property with an existing tenant, the settlement date should not be an issue and the parties can settle the transaction during any level of lockdown.


The problem arises however when the vendor is required to move out of the property so that the purchaser can move in. If the lockdown restrictions prevent either or both of the parties moving this can be problematic to settling the transaction. This is because settlement often triggers financing with a bank and other issues such as payment of outgoings such as rates and insurances. Some sale and purchase agreements provide for a delay in settlement if we are under a lockdown situation that prevents movement. However some do not. Parties can get around this in one of two ways. Firstly, by going ahead with settlement and entering into a licensing arrangement. This will provide for the vendor paying the purchaser a weekly fee for staying in the property. Secondly, and probably the better option, is for the parties to negotiate a postponement of the settlement date to a time when it will be possible for the parties to move.


We recommend that you discuss these issues with your lawyer before entering into an agreement to either buy or sell property. If you have already signed the agreement, have your lawyer negotiate a position with the other lawyer that is best for all parties. For more information on this or any other legal issues you can contact Kemp Barristers & Solicitors at info@kempsolicitors.co.nz or 412-6000.


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