Practical impacts of COVID 19 on buying, selling and leasing transactions

31 MAR 2020

 

The world as we know it is changing as COVID 19 affects every aspect of our day to day lives. As the media coverage shows, it is affecting everyone globally and it is not clear on when things will get back to the way of life as we know it, if it all.

Below we examine on the impact of COVID 19 in respect of the Property market both from the point of view of buying, selling and leasing as at 31 March 2020

Property inspections for sales

As at 31 March 2020, Real Estate Agents are no longer able to conduct the traditional “open home” inspections where any number of people can attend and view the Property at a nominated time. As a consequence, Agents are only conducting private inspections. However it is questionable as to how long this may continue as the current rule is that any gathering is limited to 2 people. Therefore, any private inspection must only be between the Agent and (1) other person at a time. Agents are however doing their best with these restrictions and most will offer a virtual reality inspection if attending the home itself is not a viable option.

Auctions

Public auctions are now prohibited. Therefore, any scheduled auction due to take place in person will either be cancelled or take place online through the internet or other web based technology.

Signing of contracts

At Marsdens, we are well equipped in dealing with the signing of a Contract for Sale electronically.

Whilst e-mail and scanned copies of original signed documents has long been accepted, we also have in place various technologies to allow signing of any documents electronically, such as DocuSign and PlanIT.

This allows you to sign a Contract electronically from your own device such as a PC, tablet or mobile phone. The use of these platforms are highly secure and use encryption to prevent fraud from occurring.

We are also able to conduct conferences via telephone and video calls in place of traditional face to face meetings. Your solicitor will discuss this with you further of the available options.

Leasing

Whilst there is no yet any specific law relating to leasing (both from a commercial, retail or residential point of view), it is expected that over the coming days the relevant Ministers will pass interim regulations that will extend to:

  1. Preventing leases being terminated during the COVID 19 pandemic for 6 months or more;
  2. Restricting a landlord entering and recovering possession from a tenant who may be in rent arrears; and
  3. Exempting certain tenants from complying with any term of a lease (such as the payment of rent of other obligations by the tenant).

This will have many practical implications for Landlords and Tenants of every kind and will likely be associated with a rental relief package from the Australian and State Governments to ensure that the retail and commercial industries survive any hibernation of the economy.

We will provide further information on this topic once the regulations have been passed.

If you have any queries in relation to the information above, please do not hesitate to contact Wade Thomas on wthomas@marsdens.net.au or Peter Crittenden on pcrittenden@marsdens.net.au or by phoning (02) 4626 5077.

The contents of this publication are for reference purposes only. This publication does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Specific legal advice should always be sought separately before taking any action based on this publication.

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