For years now, the delivery of documents and notices relating to real estate transactions could be accomplished via facsimile provided that a facsimile number was included in Clause 3 of the Agreement of Purchase and Sale (APS) or a fax clause was added to Schedule A.
Now, thanks to the newly created OREA clause, you can do the same thing via email.
OREA developed a new standard clause, entitled “Email Delivery of Documents and Notices,” that can be inserted into the APS to indicate the parties involved in a real estate transaction agree to send and receive documents via email, and to use the email address specified on the APS.
Indeed, this will make the exchange of documents more convenient. However, some words of caution are in order.
1. Confirm that all parties to the agreement have specifically agreed that email is an acceptable method of communication. There should be no misunderstanding.
2. Verify that the correct email addresses of the parties appointed to receive the documents are noted in the clause.
3. Verify that you’ve sent the documents to the correct email address. For example, you can double-check the address in the ‘Sent Items’ section of Microsoft Outlook by clicking on ‘To,’ which then displays the email address to which you sent the documents. This section also notes the date and time you sent the document
4. If the document is time-sensitive (e.g., when there are competing offers or a condition must be waived or fulfilled by a certain time), do a telephone follow-up. In this case, you want to ensure the document has not only been delivered, but has been read. Alternatively, you may hand-deliver the documents.
5. The new clause only facilitates the exchange of information electronically. It does not pertain to electronic signatures, an entirely different matter. In fact, Regulations to the Electronic Commerce Act, 2000, which will clarify the requirements and technology standards for electronic signatures, have not yet been created.