It is often said that moving house is one of life’s most stressful experiences; up there with divorce and death of a loved one.  Added to that are the additional pressures and uncertainties of the Covid-19 pandemic.

We find ourselves in a time of market uncertainty and new restrictions and regulations that none of us have seen before. For buyers and sellers of homes there are numerous worries and questions. Is now the time to sell? Can I market my home effectively during the restrictions? If you’ve already agreed to buy or sell, how do I sign papers? How do I carry out a pre-settlement inspection? What if the property is tenanted?


Overcoming the hurdles

For many wanting to sell, getting the process started will likely be the most difficult decision. Only time will tell how the housing market will be in the coming months as we come out of lockdown to lower levels of restriction. But having said that, everything is currently in place to make it happen – both for sellers and buyers.

Open homes may not yet be permitted but your agent will be able to guide you through what marketing is available.  By using technology such as Facetime or Skype, solicitors are able to meet with clients remotely and have documents signed and scanned. It is, of course, still important that you have ready for virtual meetings:

Your identification such as:

Passport or Driving Licence

And proof of address such as:

A recent utilities/rates bill, bank statement or IRD correspondence.

Removal companies are now allowed to operate under Level 3 restrictions to allow the actual physical moves to take place. If your house needs work done before marketing or settlement, tradespeople can now carry out non-essential repairs (all with social distancing still in mind).

One area of ongoing difficulty is the sale of tenanted properties. If the property being transferred is being rented out to someone and the contract provides for “vacant possession” then this will not be possible. (An exception to this is if the tenant agrees to vacate.) Emergency legislation brought in at the end of March prevents serving notice on tenants to vacate until the end of June. Any notices already served on tenants are deemed ineffective.

Get in touch

Effective communication is the key to getting things done during lockdown and lower levels of restrictions. Liaising with the other side on a transaction to resolve problems before they arise, or iron out any that have, has never been more important. Parties may have to be flexible with regards to settlement date to ensure matters can be completed despite the restrictions in force.  At Le Pine & Co we remain committed to steering our conveyancing clients through these difficult times. We remain open to meet with clients in the virtual sense, to take your instructions and complete transactions.


If you have any issues, concerns or queries relating to buying or selling a home then contact one of our Property Law experts without delay:

Brent Winkelmann:

Tony Devlin:

Simon Gale:

Jennie Burney: (Putaruru Office)

Elizabeth Hussain:

Kathy Doyle: (Turangi Office)

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