Stay up to date on the most recent news pertaining to COVID-19 and MA real estate!
LAST UPDATED: Wednesday, June 24, 2020
Boston Alert TimeLine
Saying that Massachusetts is still in the grips of the coronavirus pandemic, Governor Charlie Baker announced Tuesday that he is extending his order closing non-essential businesses and his stay-at-home advisory for residents until May 18. They had been slated to expire on May 4.
Even as he reiterated that Boston’s pause on non-essential construction remains in effect, Mayor Martin Walsh said new safety guidelines on “essential” construction sites could apply more broadly. Essential construction categories include healthcare and infrastructure work under the restrictions Walsh implemented last month.
While much of the rest of the process has gone virtual, attorneys are still meeting home buyers in person for the final step in the real estate transaction: the closing. That’s because in Massachusetts, all-digital closings are not allowed. More than half of states have passed either permanent or temporary legislation to allow remote online notarization that allows a recorded video conference to substitute for a physical meeting between buyers and an attorney, according to the National Notary Association.
Governor Charlie Baker on Wednesday suggested the cavernous Boston Convention and Exhibition Center in the Seaport could be used to treat patients who are suffering from Covid-19, but aren’t sick enough to require acute hospital-level care.
The Paycheck Protection Program provides small businesses with funds to pay up to 8 weeks of payroll costs including benefits. Funds can also be used to pay interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities
The Baker-Polito Administration announced several updates related to the COVID-19 outbreak including extending the non-essential business emergency order and guidance for Executive Branch employees until May 4.
Today Governor Baker issued an Executive Order to suspend relevant permitting deadlines and extend out the validity of state permits. It applies to a wide range of state approvals and clarifies that all approvals shall toll during the State of Emergency. It shall remain in effect until rescinded or until the state of emergency is terminated, whichever happens first.
RESTRICTIONS ON OPEN HOUSES
Be aware that the City of Boston has ordered a stop to holding open houses, and in other jurisdiction’s open houses should only be conducted if you can do so in a manner in which you act responsibly to keep you, your clients and the public safe, and comply with state and CDC guidelines. We also suggest you review the Open House Guidance and Transaction Guidance resources published by NAR. Notably, the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® has applied to the Baker Administration to re-consider real estate brokerage and property management as an essential service, and a ruling should be forthcoming shortly.
P&S and SMOKE & CO INSPECTION ADDENDUMS
The Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® and Real Estate Bar Association (REBA) of Massachusetts have each created addendum language and/or forms to address extensions that may be required to perform smoke and/or carbon monoxide detector inspections or complete the transaction and closing process. You can access these forms in the Sample Extension Language for Contracts section of our REALTORS® Guide to Coronavirus Concerns.