Property investors: don't let Coronavirus (COVID-19) impact your property conveyancing

14 September 2020

Buying or selling interstate

COVID-19 pandemic induced border closures have restricted the movement of people across borders but this shouldn't mean you can't transact and complete the settlement of a property interstate.

Each state has different conveyancing processes and laws and as Australia's largest national conveyancing law firm, Lawlab is well positioned to help property investors purchasing or selling anywhere in Australia.

As well as being experienced in and qualified to practice in each state and territory in Australia, Lawlab uses industry leading digital tools to make the conveyancing process as easy as possible without needing to meet face to face; the perfect solution in current circumstances and for anyone wanting to save time.

The digital tools used in our conveyancing process allow you to sign contracts electronically, verify your identity using your smartphone, correspond with us and your professional advisors in a secure digital platform and settle electronically.

Lawlab can settle electronically in all Australian states and territories, except in Tasmania and the Northern Territory where the laws do not yet cater for this, and we can complete the paper settlement at the end of an otherwise digital conveyancing journey in those two jurisdictions.

Signing documents

Contracts can usually be signed electronically and without the need for witnessing. Lawlab uses leading electronic signing software that is integrated within our secure conveyancing platform to make the contract signing process easy for you.

Some special documents (e.g. deeds and guarantees) need to be witnessed and this can present difficulties in a social distancing environment. These special documents are not usually required in standard residential property conveyancing but when they are required, Lawlab can facilitate remote witnessing (e.g. by videoconference) in jurisdictions that have introduced emergency legislation permitting this.

Many lenders are now changing their processes so that loan documents and mortgages can be signed electronically and we hope that this will continue after the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions are lifted. We are noticing in the current environment that finance approvals are taking longer than usual, loan documents are taking longer to issue and lenders are taking longer to be ready to settle. Lawlab can negotiate a suitable timeframe for finance conditions and settlement.

Verifying your identity

There are strict government requirements to verify your identity when you are involved in a property transaction. This high standard requires you to meet with someone face to face with your original identity documents. It is difficult to do this in a social distancing environment except with members of your own family.

Lawlab has a unique digital solution that allows you to verify your identity using your smartphone to take a photo of yourself and your identity documents and then nominate another person (ideally someone who lives with you or works with you) to do the same. This secure verification of identity software then matches your identity documents with the government databases to prove your identity.

Property due diligence and inspections

If a contract is conditional upon satisfactory inspections or valuations, then the buyer could request that these conditions are extended until practicable. The rules for physical inspections vary between jurisdictions and can change quickly so this will depend on the restrictions in place at the time. Lawlab have prepared special conditions to manage these situations and we are now including these in all contracts we prepare and review.

Buyers and their agents are also usually entitled to access a property prior to settlement to inspect it. Interstate buyers can appoint a local agent to do this on their behalf or in jurisdictions in lockdown then it might be possible to organise a virtual inspection.

Conveyancing

Unlike most legal and conveyancing businesses whose practices revolve around face to face meetings; the COVID-19 social distancing and lockdown measures will be business-as-usual for lawlab. Lawlab's friendly legal team will work with you remotely and keep you up to date via our industry leading digital platform Rundl (www.rundl.com) as well as by video conference and telephone.

Disclaimer This information is general in nature only and does not constitute legal advice. Lawlab accepts no liability for the content of this information. You should obtain legal advice specific to your individual circumstances. Lawlab’s liability is limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation. Legal practitioners employed by lawlab are members of this scheme.
Kim Owers
Kim Owers

Lawlab works with thousands of property buyers and sellers every year

We use this experience to make the conveyancing process easier for you.

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For more information please call us on 1800 529 522 or send us your enquiry.

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