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The response to COVID-19 has made it difficult to meet the requirements of the Authority and Identity Requirements for E-Dealing Standard (LINZS20018) and Guideline (LINZG20775) when practitioners and their clients cannot meet.

For updates to services and requirements in response to Cyclone Gabrielle see: Advice to conveyancing professionals with clients affected by Cyclone Gabrielle

This interim guideline has been developed to help practitioners who cannot interact with their clients other than by remote means of communication due to COVID-19. It sets out requirements for remote verification of client identity and the legal framework and required standards for the use of electronic signatures. 

The interim guideline will continue to apply until the interim guideline is revoked and notice of its revocation is published on the Toitū Te Whenua website.

The interim guideline is intended to be an interim supplement to the above Standard and Guideline while the COVID-19 precautions persist. The requirements of the Standard and Guideline continue to apply, but they have been modified in the ways described in the interim guideline. It is intended only as a guide to how practitioners may meet Toitū Te Whenua standards where they are unable to physically meet with their clients due to COVID-19. 

In deciding whether or not a property transaction can proceed in the current environment practitioners and their clients must consider the implications of COVID-19 restrictions for the other aspects of the transaction, including whether or not settlement should be deferred.  Practitioners should follow relevant advice and guidance published by the Property Law Section of the New Zealand Law Society in that regard.

Updates to the guideline dated 29 October 2021

The purpose section and sections 2 and 2.2 have been updated and provide further clarification about when audio-visual technology may be used to verify client identity.