Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) says the Registrar-General of Land has decided that any new requests to serve notice under section 143 of the Land Transfer Act 2017 will not be actioned for the time being.
"While applications made under s143(1) via Landonline will be received, notice will not be given under s143(2) at this time," LINZ says. "We will revisit this decision over the course of the next few weeks and publish further advice on these matters when circumstances change."
LINZ says it is conscious that in the current environment, while working arrangements are disrupted and High Court access is more limited, it is unreasonable to expect that lawyers and their clients will be able to respond to caveat lapsing notices within the prescribed statutory timeframes. In addition, it may not be possible to effect proper service of notice for the purposes of s223 Land Transfer Act 2017 in many cases. This has prompted the decision not to action section 143 applications.
"We appreciate that this may be of some inconvenience but we are also very mindful of the impact of such notices on recipients at a time when their ability to respond and take appropriate action may be severely compromised due to circumstances beyond their control. Subject to High Court guidance on these matters, people may have the option of seeking a Court order to lapse a caveat directly if in a particular case it is a matter of urgency.
"For any caveat lapsing notices already underway, LINZ will make every effort to follow up (by email or phone) with the firm involved to ensure notices have been received. Where application has been made to the High Court to sustain a caveat or an order obtained, these should be sent electronically to LINZ via the Titles request type ‘Application to sustain caveat’ or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Over the next few weeks, LINZ may defer processing the lapsing of caveats in cases where it’s unclear that notice has been properly served or where, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the processes necessary to sustain the caveat have not been available to the recipient."