To help manage your properties and tenancies in the current Alert Level 4 lockdown, we have the following information for members.
No doubt there may be more questions arising, we will continue to update you where possible and as the situation develops. Please email email@example.com for any queries or post them in the Canterbury Property Investors Discussion Group – our private members Facebook chat group, a secure site where we can all assist each other. Just send a request to join if you're not already part of this group.
Please find below the following advice we have at this point in time. This is not legal advice, but provides a recommended approach in certain situations.
For all situations, regular communication between all parties will be essential.
Essential Services: The list of essential services is constantly being updated, so please click here to see the full list.
Government financial support package: Additional financial support measures have been announced. It is available to self-employed persons. Please click here to find out more.
We will keep you informed with further announcements from the Government.
The Government has announced an phone number for anyone who is unsure whether they are an essential service or not. This is 0508 377 388.
Buying or Selling Property
Open Homes/Private viewings: These can’t take place in person, as aren’t an essential service. You could use online virtual tours or video conferencing software (FB Messenger or Zoom), where people can see the property without leaving their own homes with no in-person contact.
Auctions: These are not considered essential services so can only take place via phone or online bidding methods.
Settlements: In lockdown, vendors and purchasers will NOT be able to move in and out of their houses. Auckland District Law Society is recommending that settlements be deferred until after the Alert Level 4 restriction is lifted. Both parties need to contact their lawyers to make appropriate amendments to the contract to facilitate this.
Moving if a property settles during lockdown: Travel will be restricted to essential travel only e.g. pharmacy/supermarket trip, so settlements and moving house should be deferred until after the Alert Level 4 restriction is lifted. Both parties need to contact their lawyers to make appropriate amendments to the contract to facilitate this.
Rural sales and tenanted property sales: Auckland District Law Society have considered situations where sales may not involve people leaving their home or any in-person contact (e.g. where a property is tenanted and the tenancy will continue after settlement) and have advised that whilst settlement can occur where no one has to have contact, purchasers and vendors may encounter difficulties when trying to get A&I, mortgage instruction, and other legal forms issued and signed. So, deferring settlement may still be the safest option. We would strongly recommend that the parties seek and follow the advice of their lawyers and not assume settlement can or will be able to occur. Physical property inspections cannot occur when we are under Level 4 lockdown
Bridging finance: Vendors/purchasers should talk to their bank or financial services provider in the first instance
Conditional contracts: These can still be confirmed during lockdown provided no travel/face-to-face meetings are required. If the condition(s) cannot be met during the Alert Level 4 period, then both the buyer and seller should take legal advice and either extend the condition until after the lockdown period or cancel the contract. The party's lawyers will make appropriate amendments to the contract to facilitate this
Pre-settlement inspections: These are unable to take place in person during lockdown, however, if both parties agree, these could take place using video conferencing
Making an offer: Your real estate agent will have online methods to help you with this.
AML: DIA is working on guidance as to if and how CDD verification can occur during lockdown. We are currently awaiting an update on this.
Agency agreements: Please seek guidance from your lawyer as to whether and how your agency agreements can be signed during lockdown. Please note, in order to claim commission, the vendor must sign your agency agreement (s126 Real Estate Agents Act)
Switching selling methods: If a vendor for example wished to switch from an auction to private tender during lockdown, please seek guidance from your lawyer as to whether and how this can be facilitated.
Managing Your Tenancies
Rental Viewings: These are not considered essential services so are unable to take place during lockdown unless done by virtual reality tour or pre-recorded video/photos or other technology. If tenants need emergency accommodation, they should contact Work and Income.
Routine inspections: These are not essential services, so should be deferred until after the lockdown period. A method to overcome this is to get the tenants to do a virtual inspection by asking them to take photos or a video of potential problems areas, like under sinks, around toilets, and the hot water systems. Ask them to report any areas of concerns and, if necessary, get them fixed as soon as you can. NZPIF received a statement from the NZ Insurance Council that normal property inspections can be suspended until it is safe to do them.
Routine Maintenance: As this is not an essential service it should be deferred until after the lockdown period in consultation with the landlord
Urgent Maintenance: If this is related to essential services e.g. power, water, waste, gas then it is likely this can be undertaken during the lockdown period. We will update you more on this as we become aware.
Rental increases: Cabinet has agreed to freeze all rent increases. Rent still needs to be paid during this period, however, if tenants have lost their jobs and need support they should talk to their landlord/property manager at their earliest convenience to work out a payment plan or to see what financial support is available to them. Click here for more.
No cause terminations: Tenants cannot be issued with a 90-day no cause termination notice during the lockdown period.
Owner wants to move back into the property during lockdown: The current law states a landlord must give 42 days’ notice if an owner or their immediate family wish to use the premises for their own use. Under the proposed changes (which are currently under review) this would increase to 63 days’ notice. We are waiting for confirmation in regard to which notice period should be used if this is required.
Tenancies due to end or commence during lockdown: We suggest you check the MBIE website regularly for updates as the situation evolves. The overwhelming advice the Government are trying to impart upon us is that we all stay put for the meantime.
NZPIF will also regularly update you via email and on their website nzpif.org.nz. The latest update can be read here.
Tenancy Services Updates
There is a lot on information on this website also tenancy.govt.nz which is constantly updated. To read the latest update please click here. Please stay home, look out for one another, be kind and keep safe.
We will get through this together!
Warm regards from the CPIA Executive Committee
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