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What happens to my property contract over Christmas?

Many banks, solicitors and Government Departments, including the land titles registry, close over the Christmas period.

Fox and Thomas will be closed from 5:00 pm Thursday 23 December until 8:30am Tuesday 4 January 2022.

In Queensland, the period from 27th December to 31st December (inclusive) are defined as non-business days in standard residential property contracts.

If any critical date under a Contract such as Finance Date, Building and Pest or Settlement Date falls on a non-business day then that date moves to the next business day after that period.

This means that any due date under a Contract that falls between 25th December 2021 to 3 January 2022 (inclusive) will move to the first business day after that period, which is Tuesday 4 January 2022.

Nonstandard contracts may not have this clause and so your conditions may fall due in Christmas limbo.

It is therefore important to keep this in mind when you are determining how much time you require to meet your contract obligations.  You need to make sure your finance and settlement dates allow your bank enough time to process your finance application or prepare your release of mortgage, allowing for holiday period impacts.

If your bank is not ready, you may be in breach of your contract.

Cooling off

Contracts for residential property have a statutory Cooling Off Period (except where you buy at Auction or waive the Cooling Off Period). The Cooling Off Period starts the day the Buyer or its lawyer (whichever comes first) receives a copy of the Contract (signed by both parties) and ends at 5pm on the 5th business day after receipt.

The Christmas break non-business days definition does not apply to the Cooling Off Period.  This means while your Contract critical dates are paused during the 27th December to 31st December period, the Cooling Off Period will continue to run; so your cooling off rights may be slipping away while you are unwrapping presents.

This makes it even more important leading up to the Christmas break that you discuss your contract with your conveyancer before signing, to make sure you don’t get caught by the conveyancing grinch this festive season.

For more information please contact our property team at Fox and Thomas.