The role agents can play in Court ordered relationship property sales

Selling an earthquake damaged house with EQC and/or Insurance claims

Written by Penny Henderson – Partner (Relationships)

From time to time we deal with separating couples where there is a house to be sold and a reluctant party who does not want that to occur. This can be for a variety of reasons, perhaps they don’t accept the relationship is over. They may not want to divide the “empire”, knowing their life will be less financially secure. They may have no real means to move on. They might want to retain the property but in reality cannot afford to do so.

As real estate agents, you will know there is no point listing a property when one party will not sign documents to allow a sale to occur. It might be that they agree to the listing but then refuse to entertain offers received.

In these situations reasoning or negotiations through lawyers may not be successful and even the most skilled agent cannot get movement. We often see frustrated clients who believe there is nothing they can do. In such a case our advice is to apply to Court for a sale of the property (amongst other applications).

When we are drafting these applications we ask the client to get very specific information to support the application and convince a Court of the appropriateness of what is being sought. We ask them to go to their preferred real estate agent and ask for a marketing appraisal which, in addition to the usual information, includes the preferred mode of sale, the price that should be placed on it (if appropriate), and the likely range of sale price. If there are issues which need to be addressed before the property is placed on the market from the agent’s point of view then that should be noted as well. It can also be useful to have an idea of a reasonable rental for the property, in case occupation rental becomes an issue.

This information is crucial because the application will ask that the Court authorise the property going on the market with the agent who supplied the appraisal and in the manner they have suggested. The likely sale price range needs to be stipulated as well. This is because the Court will authorise the Registrar of the Court to sign the listing agreement, if the reluctant partner will not, and to sign any reasonable offer received in the range suggested by the agent, again if the reluctant partner will not. This follows on to signing transfer documents as well.

It is therefore important that the appraisal is well thought out and is realistic as to price. It will be going before a Judge, as well as seen by the other side. It is hugely influential.

If you or your clients would like to discuss applying to the Court for the sale of relationship property, please contact our relationships team, they would be happy to assist.

Resurrecting of a Company removed from the Register

Written by Louise Maginness – Registered Legal Executive (Residential Property)

When selling a property on behalf of a company it is important to check that the company is currently registered with the Companies Office early in the sale process.  If the company has been removed from the register, technically it no longer exists as a legal entity and therefore the directors are unable to sign any documents on behalf of the company (including any agreement for sale and purchase).

We have recently acted on two sale matters for different companies and upon searching the Companies Office have found that they have been struck off.  With both these matters, the reason for being removed was that no annual return had been filed due to a simple oversight.

Unfortunately, this has the potential to create issues given, technically either party could cancel any existing agreement for sale and purchase because the validity of the agreement is not clear and could be called into question.

To fix the removal of the company issue, a former director or shareholder of the company will need to apply to the Companies Office to have the company restored to the register.  This is completed online via the Companies Office website.  This process itself is not difficult but can take up to eight weeks as a public notice will need to be published in the New Zealand Gazette and on the Companies Office website. The process can take longer still if someone objects to the restoration.

This creates another issue in relation to timing if an agreement is already in play, as settlement cannot be completed until the company is reinstated. A deferment of the settlement date may need to be agreed between the parties which may inconvenience the parties or even jeopardise the sale.

The solution to avoid any issues is quite simple: search the company on the Companies Office website as soon as you obtain the listing.  Searching is free of charge.  If the company has been removed, let the client know as soon as possible to get the process underway before any agreement is signed.

If you wish to speak to us regarding the restoration process, please contact one of our property team members.

Come along to our next Illuminate seminar

We have developed presentations covering the legal topics you are interested in. This series will include presentations from a range of our specialist teams and cover both professional and personal areas.

There will be no charge for these events and drinks and nibbles will be provided. These presentations will offer you the opportunity to learn and ask questions in a relaxed and social atmosphere.

We would love to see you at our next seminar:

Game of Life: Negotiating life’s milestones for young professionals

5.30pm, Wednesday 31 July

We can look at life like a game: play your deck right, with well thought-out moves and you have every chance of living your best life.

Join our Property, Relationships and Trusts and Estates experts for a discussion on some of life’s early milestones. We will present some real life scenarios to enable you to better understand how to navigate the 'game of life' and provide some advice on successfully establishing and protecting yourself and your assets.

To register for this event or for more information please contact

Mike Parker

+64 3 339 5645

Partner - Property

Phone: +64 3 339 5645

Mobile: +64 21 226 2630


Penny Henderson

Partner - Relationships

Phone: +64 3 339 5644


Louise Maginness

Registered Legal Executive - Property

Phone: +64 3 339 5643


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