COVID-19 & REAL ESTATE
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
This information is for discussion purposes only, and does not constitute or replace legal advice.
Frequently asked questions for Real Estate Professionals
Are you open?
Yes! We have maintained our regular business hours and are making every effort to remain open in accordance with guidance of local authorities.
Is Alberta Land Titles open?
Land Titles Offices in Calgary and Edmonton have closed in-person counter services. Land Titles business in all other respects, including SPIN2, continues to operate as usual. Alberta Land Titles have assured lawyers that they will do everything possible to maintain an acceptable level of service.
Should my clients amend their current contracts to protect them from costs or legal implications due a delay related to COVID-19?
The AREA Purchase Contract calls for all parties to act in good faith. Clients, lawyers and real estate professionals are working together to seek suitable solutions for clients on existing contracts due to COVID-19 delays on a case by case basis.
The following term can be inserted in section 9.2 of the AERA Purchase Contract or as an amendment to current accepted contracts:
- The Buyer and Seller agree and acknowledge that in the event that the Buyer or Seller in this Agreement becomes the subject of a mandatory COVID-19 virus quarantine at the time of Completion herein that results in that parties’ inability to complete the transaction as scheduled, the closing shall be automatically extended at the request of the affected party for a period no longer than twenty-one (21) calendar days, unless the parties otherwise mutually agree to extend the Completion Date further. If extension in this clause is invoked, the Buyer and Seller shall continue to act in good faith and use their reasonable best efforts to ensure the completion of the transaction occurs on as timely a basis as possible, and will not use this as a means to delay closing in anticipation of any such quarantine or closures, or for reasons unrelated to COVID-19. Notwithstanding the foregoing, time shall remain of the essence for any extended closing date as a result of this clause.
- The Buyer and Seller agree that in the event that the Buyer or Sellers’ respective solicitors, lenders and banks, or the Land Registry Office becomes the subject of a mandatory COVID-19 virus closure at the time of Completion hereunder that results in the affected parties’ inability to complete the transaction as scheduled, the Completion Date shall be automatically extended at the request of the affected party for an expected closing date not more than ten (10) business days after the reopening of the last of these to open of these institutions. Notwithstanding the foregoing, time shall remain of the essence for any extended closing date as a result of this clause.
IMPORTANT: Use EXTREME CAUTION when including terms, or amendments, that may weigh heavily in favour of either the vendor or the purchaser unilaterally. Our office ALWAYS welcomes questions related to the drafting of terms.
What if there is a “lock down” or further restrictions on business deemed essential before or during a client’s possession?
Can my clients change their possession date?
Many clients have expressed the desire to move the possession date forward. In order to change the possession date both the buyer and seller need to agree. HOWEVER, where a mortgage is involved, an amendment to a possession date may result in an amendment to mortgage documents. Lenders are operating on delayed schedules currently and in some cases with limited staff. Additional time may be required to get new documents from the lender to the lawyer, have documents signed by clients and request for funds submitted. An amendment to possession could inadvertently put a buyer in a position to close late. Please discuss with the lawyer before making an amendment to a possession date.
Can clients sign documents remotly via video conference?
The video conference must be recorded, and occur via a secure app or platform.
Immediately following signing, the client must send a PDF version or photograph of the signed documents to the lawyer.
Many lenders DO NOT allow for document execution via video conference. Lenders that are agreeable require the buyer to pay for a lenders title insurance policy.
Originally executed documents must be acquired by the lawyer for submission to Land Titles.
Is there a waiver clients can sign before showing their property?
Is there a waiver clients can sign before viewing a property?
Practice Physical distancing throughout the showing.
Have clients drive themselves the the property.
Limit the number of people attending the property to only key decision makers.
Ensure you and your clients practice respiratory etiquette, and hand hygiene.
Wear and provide gloves
Refrain from unnecessarily touching items within the home
Request that the seller leaves lights on and all interior doors and blings open.
Monitor clients for COVID-19 symptoms: such as cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose or sore throat.
Following the showing make best efforts to wipe down the anything you touched such as the door knob, key and key box.