Working Days over Christmas

The holiday period is fast approaching and for us lawyers it means lazy summer days with a glass of Pimm’s by the pool.  However, for clients and real estate agents it can be a time of confusion and frustration as to what’s happening when. Under the ADLS agreement the definition of ‘working day’ excludes any day in the period from 24th December to 5th January inclusive (or in the case of the timing for confirmation of the LIM condition (clause 10.2.2) it’s 15th January). This means the last working day of this year is Friday 22nd December 2017 and the first working day of 2018 is Monday 8th January.

Why is this important?
Where an agreement will span the Christmas/New Year period, it’s worth giving some thought to the timing of any further terms of sale in relation to the settlement date.  Let’s say that John and Dorothy sign an agreement to purchase their dream home on 18th December 2017.  The agreement is subject to them carrying out a due diligence on the property within 5 working days of the date of the agreement and settlement is scheduled for 15th January 2018.  Under the terms of the agreement, confirmation wouldn’t be due until Monday 8th January 2018.  Settlement would then be one week later – which could cause unnecessary stress for the purchasers in terms of the receipt and completion of loan documents etc.

What can you do?
Talking through the working days and how that affects the confirmation provisions of the agreement with both the vendor and the purchaser is useful.  This ensures that both parties understand the timing when they sign the agreement and keeps their expectations realistic.

Being aware of how a purchaser will pay for a property is also helpful.  If they’re relying on Kiwisaver or the HomeStart Grant, the number of working days over the period between confirmation and settlement is an important consideration when nominating the settlement date.  Opening hours over the holiday period may vary from provider to provider.  It’s important for purchasers to contact their providers to check when they’re open over this period to ensure their application will be processed in time for settlement.

It’s also worth talking to your clients about their solicitor’s office hours over the summer period.  Many don’t open until the third week of January resulting in clients relying on skeleton staff to keep them informed during what can be a stressful time for purchasers and vendors alike.

So what are our office hours over the Christmas period?  Our offices close at 5pm on Friday 22nd December 2017 and reopen at 8.30am on Monday 8th January 2018. That said, if anything urgent comes up you’re always welcome to give us a call (just not so late that we’ve had too many Pimm’s).