COVID-19: Update on buying and selling property during alert level 3

The guidelines for Alert Level 3 have been issued and will be in place as of today, Tuesday 28 April 2020.

New Zealanders are now able to move house during Alert Level 3, including moving between regions.  All moving companies, and freight and domestic air services for the purposes of moving house will be allowed to operate.  Despite the green light given, the general rule to avoid and minimise physical interactions beyond your Alert Level 4 bubble, wherever possible will apply as a matter of common sense.

In the context of property settlements, Alert Level 3 means:

  1. Most lawyers will remain working from home as they did under Alert Level 4. Remote signing and audio visual attendances with lawyers will continue to take place prior to settlement.
  2. Pre-settlement inspections will be possible as long as those involved (e.g. purchasers, inspectors and agents) follow public health measures, such as keeping a 2 metre distance from each other. Common sense tells us that we should careful to sanitise before and after these inspections and parties should avoid touching things unnecessarily.
  3. Keys may be provided upon completion of settlement but again, parties should follow public health measures.
  4. Auctions and open homes will not be allowed until Alert Level 2.

Many contracts will have amended settlement dates deferred until after Alert Level 2 is lifted which was in line with the Law Society’s suggestion, sensible and relevant at the time.  It will be up to the parties to decide whether they will re-negotiate this in light of the novel Alert Level 3 parameters now disclosed. 

Before finalising a new settlement date, purchasers should make sure they are able to book their furniture removal companies as there may be a high demand for such services.  Flexibility around settlement dates may still be necessary to accommodate an Alert Level 3 settlement.

Our comments are based on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment article  and is subject to changes issued by the New Zealand government.

If you have any questions about buying or selling a property, please get in touch with our property team or your usual contact at Hesketh Henry

Disclaimer:  The information contained in this article is current at the date of publishing and is of a general nature.  It should be used as a guide only and not as a substitute for obtaining legal advice.  Specific legal advice should be sought where required.



Do you need expert legal advice?
Contact the expert team at Hesketh Henry.
Media contact - Kerry Browne
Please contact Kerry with any media enquiries and with any questions related to marketing or sponsorships on +64 9 375 8747 or via email.

Related Articles / Insights & Opinion

Alert Level 3; Hi-ho, hi-ho, back to work we go?
In Auckland, we’re excited to be moving to Alert Level 3, if only so we can take a break from cooking every single meal! 
21.09.2021 Posted in Business Advice & COVID-19 & Employment
M&A Pricing Mechanics: Completion Accounts vs Locked Box
A critical period in the timeline of any M&A share transaction is the period between signing the Share Sale and Purchase Agreement and completion.
Climate Change and the Construction Industry: Counting down to a national strategy
The Government is getting closer to the publication of a national strategy for responding to climate change.
21.09.2021 Posted in Climate Change & Construction
Formation of Contract: Black Sea Commodities Ltd v Lermarc Agromond Pte Ltd
The English High Court decision in Black Sea Commodities Ltd v Lermarc Agromond Pte Ltd [2021] EWHC 287 highlights the importance of parties to commodities contracts expressly including an arbitration clause in the contract. This is particularly when the contract is formed by email or instant messaging negotiations.
20.09.2021 Posted in Litigation & Dispute Resolution
August 2021 Lockdown – what financial support is available?
The Government is offering various support schemes to help employees and businesses cope with the 2021 COVID-19 Lockdown.  Given the differing eligibility requirements it is easy to become overwhelmed.
20.09.2021 Posted in Business Advice & COVID-19 & Employment
Clarity on Liquidated Damages following Termination
The United Kingdom Supreme Court in Triple Point Technology Inc v PTT Public Company Ltd [2021] UKSC 29 has clarified the operation of liquidated damages clauses in the event of termination.  The dec...
Is your will in draft form?  High Court refuses to exercise its discretionary power to validate a draft will notwithstanding beneficiaries’ consent
The High Court’s recent decision in Re: An application to validate the will of Olive Ruby Piper [2021] NZHC 534 serves as a valuable reminder to make sure that your estate planning documents are...
16.09.2021 Posted in Family & Trust Wills Estates
Send us an enquiry
For expert legal advice, please complete the form below or call us on (09) 375 8700.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.