If you are currently in the process of purchasing or selling a home, we have taken the liberty of gathering information surrounding real estate transactions during this COVID-19 situation.
LAND REGISTRY OFFICES REMAINING OPEN - FOR NOW
Currently there are no plans to close the LROs. This may change, but currently LROs may be working with reduced staff and will likely prioritize services required for closings (over-rides, pre-approvals, PIN corrections, etc.). Click here to learn more.
BANKS ARE REMAINING OPEN - FOR NOW
All of Canada's major banks have indicated an intention to remain open. Similar to other businesses, the banks may be working with reduced staff or locations and there may be delays in processing requests.
Tarion issued an Advisory on Friday confirming that the builder repair period has been suspended until April 13, 2020, and that homeowners may refuse access and builders may refuse to perform after-sales services during the COVID-19 pandemic without penalty.
The Tarion Advisory can be found here.
Due to the focus on self-isolation and preventing further spread of COVID-19, there may be issues with clients not being able to meet with lawyers - or vice versa. Remote meetings are still a great option during this time (both in real estate and for your mortgage professional) and can be held via phone or video conference with a plan to provide any sworn documents aat a later date. If you do meet in-person, don't shake hands, sit as far apart as possible and be sure to wash your hands after leaving any unfamiliar environments.
There have been recommendations that people limit in-person interactions, work from home if possible and not go out for 'non-essential' reasons. It is now very possible that municipalities may close their offices or work with reduced staff and that delays in receiving compliance information, permits and municipal agreements may be experienced.
What does this mean for your closings?
If either the LRO or the banks close, then real estate transactions will not be able to proceed and you would need to seek extensions wherever possible. The good news is that everyone is in the same situation! The bad news is that there is no right in most re-sale agreements to insist on an extension, however most people are understanding and you will have to rely on their goodness as well as common law principles to extend the transaction.