COVID-19 and Your Upcoming Real Estate Transaction

 In Real Estate Law

In light of the developing COVID-19 pandemic Mann Lawyers LLP remains open and available to assist our clients through this difficult time. We are committed to doing our part in promoting “social distancing’ to try and slow the spread of COVID-19 and we have implemented a number of measures in our office to protect our clients and staff. At this time we have closed our office to in-person client appointments but we would like to take this opportunity to let you know that we have implemented alternative measures to attempt to minimize the impact of this global pandemic on our clients.

Further to the announcement of the mandatory shutdown of all non-essential workplaces across Ontario, effective as of 11:59 PM on March 24, 2020 and further amended effective 11:59 PM on April 4, 2020 (the updated list of essential businesses can be viewed here), businesses providing land registration services and professional and social services that support the legal and justice system are considered essential services, as well as businesses providing banking/credit union services.

What Does this Mean for Your Upcoming Transaction?

We have been working closely with our various partners in the real estate industry to ensure we can continue to provide the best service for our clients.

Agreements of Purchase and Sale

We are working with realtors and clients to ensure clauses are now added to Agreements of Purchase and Sale which address possible delays in closing, such as third party delays (i.e. issues with mortgage advances by lending institutions), delay at the Land Registry  office (i.e. issues with registration of documents), or if a party becomes subject to a mandatory quarantine. We do recommend that any clause included in an Agreement to address circumstances surrounding COVID-19 should be drafted and reviewed by legal counsel to ensure enforceability and to ensure the clause addresses the specific scenarios adequately.

Signing of Transactional Documents

We have implemented the use of various technologies and methods, such as video conferencing and arrangements for remote execution of documents, in order to ensure that we are able to continue to meet your real estate needs, and so that your transactions proceed as planned. We  understand that not all clients may have access to these technologies, so we will work with clients on a file by file basis, to find a reasonable solution.

Transfer of Funds

Whether clients are purchasing or selling a property, we have implemented other options for receiving closing funds or paying net sale proceeds to clients, without the requirement to attend at our office.

Key Exchange

Where possible, we are requesting that realtors leave keys in the lock box at the property and then codes to the boxes are provided to the Buyer’s lawyer in escrow, pending closing of the transaction.

Our office is closely monitoring further developments of the COVID-19 pandemic in order to be in the best position to work with you to have your purchase, sale and/or mortgage transactions proceed and close as seamlessly as possible under the circumstances.

This blog post was written by Diana Tebby, a member of the Real Estate and Wills and Estates teams.  She can be reached at 613-369-0384 or at diana.tebby@mannlawyers.com.

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