What time of day controls if notice is sent from or to a different time zone?
QUESTION: I’ve just read that paragraph 20 of the Offer to Purchase and Contract (Form 2-T) was recently amended to make it clear that electronic notice is considered to have been delivered when it has been sent rather than when it has been received. That got me wondering—suppose a notice of termination of contract is emailed from someone in a time zone that’s different from the time zone where the recipient of the email is located? If the notice is considered to have been delivered when it was sent, is it also considered to have been delivered as of the time of day in the location where the sender sent the email?
ANSWER: No. Just because notice is considered to have been delivered when it was sent does not also mean that the local time of day where the sender is located determines what time of day it was sent for purposes of the contract. Paragraph 22 of the Offer to Purchase and Contract provides that “[a]ny reference to a date or time of day shall refer to the date and/or time of day in the State of North Carolina.” The time of day where the sender or the recipient of an electronic notice happens to be located at the time the notice is sent is irrelevant. What is relevant is the time of day in North Carolina at the time the notice is sent.
To give an example, suppose a buyer who is under contract to purchase property in North Carolina is traveling out of state on business. On the last day of the Due Diligence Period, she decides to terminate the contract and notifies the listing agent by email of her decision. The buyer is in San Diego, California where the local time is 3:00 PM. Since the Due Diligence Period ended at 5:00 PM, and since it is now 6:00 PM in the State of North Carolina, the notice of termination was not timely delivered. As stated above, it also doesn’t matter what time of day it is where the recipient of the email is located. Thus, if the listing agent in the hypothetical happens to be vacationing in Aspen, Colorado and receives the buyer’s notice of termination at 4 PM local time in Aspen, it doesn’t change the result. It’s still 6 PM in North Carolina and the notice is still late!
This article is intended solely for the benefit of NC REALTORS® members, who may reproduce and distribute it to other NC REALTORS® members and their clients, provided it is reproduced in its entirety without any change to its format or content, including disclaimer and copyright notice, and provided that any such reproduction is not intended for monetary gain. Any unauthorized reproduction, use or distribution is prohibited.