A must read if you plan to buy or sell around the Christmas / New Year period

As Christmas draws near there is much to consider. If you are looking to buy or sell property then one vital consideration is the Christmas/New Year shut down period.


    • Considerations for buying or selling around the Christmas/New Year break

Most Solicitors and Conveyancers will close over the Christmas/New Year break. The period of the office closure depends on the firm but irrespective here is what you will need to know.

Most Contracts for Sale will contain a special clause that notes the Christmas/New Year shut down period. Here’s what’s important about this:

  • in most circumstances the Contract will nominate a date for settlement in 2020, if the settlement period noted on the Contract falls within the Christmas/New Year break. For example, lets say this Contract contains a special clause that says that if settlement falls during 24 December 2019 and 16 January 2020 then settlement is automatically extended to 17 January 2020. Now let’s say Contracts have exchanged on Monday, 18 November 2019 pursuant to the standard 42 day completion period. In this case settlement would fall due on 30 December 2019. This falls in the Christmas/New Year shut down period. As such, pursuant to the special clause, settlement is automatically extended to 17 January 2020.
  • usually, the special clause will restrict either party from serving any notice requiring settlement during the closure period. For example, lets say this Contract contains a special clause that says that if either party serves a notice requiring settlement between 24 December 2019 and 16 January 2020, then notice expiry date is automatically extended to 17 January 2020. Now, you are the buyer and settlement was due on 20 December 2019 but the seller wasn’t ready and didn’t complete on that day. If you served a 14 day notice to complete, demanding settlement, that 14 day notice would fall due during the closure period. As such, instead of the notice expiring 14 days after it is served, it expires on 17 January 2020.

So, if you’re a buyer, before signing a Contract:

  • have a discussion with the other party about their settlement expectations i.e. do they want to settle before or after the Christmas/New Year break
  • get advice on the Contract terms. Does the Contract contain a Christmas/New Year closure clause and if so, how this this affect you?

And if you’re a seller:

  • have a discussion with your Solicitor/Conveyancer about their office Christmas/New Year shut down period
  • let your Solicitor/Conveyancer and Agent know whether you would prefer a settlement pre or post Christmas/New Year break


Melina Costantino, Licensed Conveyancer


Melina has over 9 years’ experience as a Licensed Conveyancer, acting for client matters involving; purchase and sale of residential and commercial property, Retirement Village Contracts, Put & Call Options, Call Options and Family Transfers. She is passionate about helping a wide range of clients across all aspects of the buying and selling process and ensuring that her clients meet all their legal obligations.

For further information please don’t hesitate to contact:

Melina Costantino
Licensed Conveyancer & JP
02 4607 2104

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This blog is merely general and non specific information on the subject matter and is not and should not be considered or relied on as legal advice. Coutts is not responsible for any cost, expense, loss or liability whatsoever in relation to this blog, including all or any reliance on this blog or use or application of this blog by you.