The COVID-19 global pandemic has caused massive disruptions to the real estate industry. MAR has been working diligently throughout the crisis to ensure our members have the latest information and the resources they need to successfully navigate through these uncertain times. MAR has been advocating on behalf of Realtors® and producing much needed forms updates. Three new forms have been added to our library that specifically address COVID-19-related transactional issues.
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Inspection Addendum
The inability to obtain a smoke certificate during the pandemic does not mean transactions are stuck in limbo indefinitely. MAR advocated to secure a solution to this issue. On March 20, 2020, Governor Baker issued an emergency order that permits home buyers and sellers to defer the smoke and carbon monoxide detector inspection requirements that are otherwise required under the General Laws of Massachusetts. MAR is now working with the Fire Prevention Association of Massachusetts to ensure that all required deferred inspections are completed within 90 days of closing. During the current COVID-19 State of Emergency, a Smoke Inspection may be deferred so long as the following conditions are met:
The Parties to the sale or transfer have agreed in writing that the buyer assumes responsibility for equipping the property with approved smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms.
The buyer agrees as a condition of taking title to equip the property with approved smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms immediately upon taking title.
An inspection as otherwise required under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 148, Sections 26F and 26F½ occurs no more than 90 days after the state of emergency is lifted.
MAR has developed an addendum that addresses the requirements of the emergency order. The addendum can be found through the MAR Forms Library or may be accessed on www.MARCOVID19.com.
In addition to the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Inspection Addendum mentioned above, MAR also developed a COVID-19 Addendum to address any delays that may occur as a direct result of COVID-19. This addendum may be attached to a contract to purchase to provide protection to the parties in the event a transaction is disrupted during this uncertain time. This form is also available through the MAR Forms Library or www.MARCOVID19.COM.
Short-Term Rental Cancellation Addendum
On March 31, 2020, the Department of Public Health (DPH) issued guidance for one of the Governor’s emergency orders prohibiting the use of hotels, motels, inns, bed and breakfasts, and short-term rentals for vacation or recreational purposes through May 4, 2020.
To assist our members brokering short-term rental contracts for stays beginning after May 4, MAR has developed a short-term rental cancellation addendum that may be attached to those lease agreements. This addendum addresses deposits placed on those rentals, and what happens in the event the landlord is unable to provide occupancy or the tenant is unable to travel to the property to take tenancy as a direct result of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. The addendum can be found through the MAR Forms Library or may be accessed on www.MARCOVID19.com.
Any additional forms developed for use by a brokerage should be done so with the guidance of legal counsel. Additionally, any “screening” type questions, such as questions about where a person has traveled or whether they are experiencing any symptoms of illness, must be asked equally to avoid any fair housing issues.