What is a COVID-19 clause, and should I include one in my purchase offer? Are there any other special clauses or waivers that I should include if I buy a property during the current pandemic?

The impact of the pandemic on the real estate industry has created a unique situation for buyers and sellers and the professionals they rely on in a real estate transaction.

It’s important that any buyer wanting to complete a purchase in the coming weeks or months work closely with their salesperson to ensure they understand that purchasing a home in today’s climate is not business as usual and that the current restrictions, limitations, and accommodations necessary to comply with physical distancing requirements will directly impact their buying experience.

To answer your question about closing transactions in the COVID-19 environment, we have seen the introduction of a variety new clauses and liability waivers intended to address such considerations as illness and virus transmission, transaction delays and interruptions in auxiliary business services that consumers rely upon to complete property transactions. It is important to be aware that poorly drafted waivers and clauses in an agreement can create unnecessary confusion and have the potential to create disputes that can result in additional costs for all parties. In a worst-case scenario, poorly drafted agreements can jeopardize the success of a transaction.

Whether you are considering including one or more COVID-19 related clauses in an offer, or are presented with a contract that includes one, I recommend you review the document thoroughly with your real estate salesperson and seek the advice of a real estate lawyer before agreeing to or including such clauses or waivers in any contract, document or agreement of purchase and sale.

Each of us plays an important role in flattening the curve, please continue to follow the direction, advice and guidance of public health officials and government authorities regarding physical distancing and mitigating risk to exposure or transmission of the COVID-19 virus throughout your purchase journey. We understand that people need to make real estate decisions, but these decisions must be done thoughtfully and considering public health.

If you have a question for Joe about the home buying or selling process, please email information@reco.on.ca.


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Joseph Richer is Registrar of the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO). He is in charge of the administration and enforcement of all rules that govern real estate professionals in Ontario. You can find more tips at reco.on.ca, follow on Twitter @RECOhelps or on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/RECOhelps.

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