Southern Alberta Floods: Cleaning Up and Moving Forward
| June 24, 2013
Many residents of Southern Alberta are beginning to assess their property now that the flood waters have started to recede. This devastating event has and will continue to affect Albertans for many months.
The Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA) has already received calls from industry professionals about what will happen to transactions that were underway. What should industry professionals do if the flood has destroyed their brokerage office, their contracts and other paperwork? What is to be done for a consumer who has sold his or her home and purchased a new one, when the new home has been damaged by flood waters? What about a seller brokerage agreement for a seller whose current home is no longer saleable because of extensive damage?
Brokerages and offices that have suffered flood damage and may have lost their records should, to the best of their ability, start recreating transaction records using copies of contracts obtained through lawyers, lenders and the consumers themselves. Call the real estate lawyers involved, call the mortgage broker, call the lender and call the local bank, if possible. Speak with anyone who may have copies of the documents and contracts in question.
Industry professionals should also reach out to their buyer and seller clients who are currently involved in transactions in areas affected by flooding. Find out how your buyers and sellers wish to proceed. Once you are clear on how the consumers want to proceed, a determination has to be made as to whether that course of action is legal. If all parties to a transaction do not agree on a course of action, recommend to your clients that they seek legal advice from a lawyer familiar with handling such disputes.
Industry professionals should also be aware that the Land Titles office in downtown Calgary is closed because of the flooding, but the Land Titles server location is fully functional. As such, any online activity with Land Titles should be available. However, the Edmonton Land Titles office will be processing land titles as part of the closing process. Land Titles has staff in Edmonton working overtime to keep up with the extra work, and encourages all industry professionals and lawyers to courier all documents to the Edmonton office for processing.
RECA knows Alberta real estate industry professionals always have the best interests of clients in mind – in this case, we ask that everyone be as patient as possible. Working together, professionally, will ensure things proceed as smoothly as possible in such a heartbreaking situation.
For those industry professionals who have questions about record-keeping and transaction files that may have been destroyed by the floods, please speak with your broker. Brokers who have been affected by the floods and have questions are encouraged to call RECA and speak with staff within Consumer and Industry Services at RECA.
Our thoughts are with the residents affected by the floods throughout Southern Alberta as they return to their community and their thoughts turn to renewal and rebuilding. Extraordinary circumstances demand extraordinary response. To all industry professionals who have been affected by these floods, RECA stands by ready to assist in any way we can and will continue, going forward, to be sensitive to these extraordinary circumstances in our professional dealings.
RECA has created 2013AlbertaFlood@reca.ca; an email account specifically for inquiries from practitioners affected by the Southern Alberta floods. This email address will receive priority response from the RECA departments to which the inquiries are directed.