Business during COVID-19 alert level 4

All businesses operating at alert level 4 have a responsibility to adhere to public health guidance and health and safety obligations.

Our staff remain active, on-call and are working remotely.  Our offices are closed.

What we can and can’t do during alert level 4

Only essential services are exempt from alert level 4 restrictions. Real estate is not an essential service.

The basic principle is that real estate business can only go ahead if it doesn’t involve people moving out of their lockdown address. We are remaining in our own homes, and any real estate work is being conducted from there.

We can talk to you, by phone, video, or email. However, we must not have any face-to-face visits with clients and customers.

We cannot visit properties for appraisals or conduct property viewings, open homes or pre-settlement inspections.

Property inspections and open homes are cancelled

Prospective buyers and tenants may only view a property online (for example, video) inspections and open homes are not permitted.

Appraisals

Appraisals may be conducted by virtual methods because we cannot physically inspect the property to appraise it.  All discussions about marketing plans, disclosures and how the listing will progress must be completed by phone or video.

The Real Estate Authority recommend we defer new listings until regular business can resume and people movement for non-essential reasons is allowed.

Paperwork must be signed and delivered electronically; we are not able to leave our properties to conduct business.

Legal Advice

Many lawyers are working from home and can assist by phone, video call or email.  Advice may take longer than usual.  Allow extra time to consult about any agreements.

Making an offer

All discussions about the sale and purchase agreement or offers received must take place by phone or video call.  Contracts must be signed and delivered electronically.

Auctions

Auctions can only take place by phone or online bidding and our auctioneers will conduct them from the safety of their own homes.  All buyers, sellers and onlookers are welcome to tune into them and your agent will provide a link for you to use.  All buyers must be registered via a telephone bidding authority. 

Settlements (moving homes is not allowed at alert level 4)

The Real Estate Authority recommends that settlements are deferred until relocations are permitted. We hope that all parties will agree to defer settlement, and this will rely on co-operation and compromise.

If there is a clause in the sale and purchase agreement that addresses how settlement should occur if the alert level changes, we will assist you to review the agreement to understand how to progress the settlement.

Property settlement can take place if there is no movement of people, for example, when a tenanted property is sold, and the tenants are staying. Moving homes isn’t allowed at alert level 4.

We recommend you seek legal advice early. In the current situation, both parties are unlikely to be able to meet their contractual obligations.

We recommend deferring settlement until at least 10 days after moving to an alert level where relocating is permitted.

Here are examples of compromises that could allow settlement to take place during alert level 4:

  • The vendor stays at the property on a rental basis.
  • Both parties agree to share any late settlement interest penalty.
  • The vendor leaves money in the sale for later payment.

Further Information

Read Government alert level 4 guidance and key steps to stay healthy on the COVID-19 website.

 

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