Yes, everyone with just five weeks until Christmas, you can officially start getting excited…have you put your tree up yet? What about the Christmas lights? Or are you going to be more low-key this year? However, you are going to celebrate it – we are sure you are starting in some way to prepare – and so are we.
One of the ways we are preparing is to remind our clients about conveyancing shutdowns during the Christmas period. Many buyers and sellers are unaware of these closures that extend beyond the public holidays and can impact on critical dates in contracts.
If you have a contract already in place or are about to sign one you need to check the dates of the vital components of the settlement process to minimise disruption and ensure there won’t be delays due to the closure of solicitor/conveyancing offices.
Many buyers and sellers want their settlement to go through before going on holidays. This puts increased pressure on banks, often dealing with a huge influx of mortgage applications and release requests. Whilst the majority of financial institutions are open, they are generally operating on skeleton staff which can lead to settlement delays during the Christmas Period. The key is for clients to keep in contact with their bank and try to get in as early as possible.
It is essential that buyers/sellers meeting finance dates, building and pest inspection dates, any special condition dates, and settlement dates – If any of these dates fall on a public holiday, it automatically passes to the next business day. In standard conveyancing contracts the days between 27-31 December inclusive are NOT classified as business days, meaning further delay if these dates are included in your contract. So, for 2021, the next business day after December 24 is Monday January 4, 2020.
However, it is worth noting that these dates do not apply in the case of cooling off periods; this period is imposed by statute, and not covered by the standard conditions in conveyancing contracts, but by legislation – so buyers please keep in mind, the non-public holidays between Christmas and New Year are counted in the calculation of the 5 business day cooling off period.
We trust this is all clear, and please do not hesitate to contact us for any clarification. We work with a range of conveyancing firms and solicitors’ offices and can certainly assist you during this time with selection of appropriate contract dates.