Showing Requirements during Covid

I wanted to provide a quick update to let you know how things are changing and adjusting – again.  Hopefully some of these changes will make things easier on you.
Last week, the state of California issued guidance (new law) for showing practices during the pandemic in coordination with Cal Osha and the Department of Public Health.  For the most part, they adopted the California Association of REALTORS (C.A.R.’s) Best Practices with some changes.
All Brokers must have a plan and rules for showing property.  To satisfy the state requirement:
1-The Best Practices are no longer a recommendation, they are now law and required.  C.A.R. is updating them to include everything that the state added in their last update.  These will be considered “the plan.”
2-The PEAD form (Coronavirus Property Entry Advisory and Declaration) will be updated and split into 2 separate forms – one for the occupants to sign and one for those who will enter the property.  This will be considered “the rules.”
3-Listing agents must post a blank copy of the PEAD form (rules) and a pictogram (above) at the entrance of the property.
The pictogram is also being revised.  Gloves and booties will no longer be required to be worn by everyone entering the property, but they must sanitize hands prior to entering or wash hands immediately after entering, and the seller must provide either the sanitizer or a wash station in the home for this purpose.  The seller (or listing agent) must also provide masks and sanitizing wipes (for cleaning after the showing).  Although gloves and booties are not required, masks still are, and while the hope is that people have their own masks, they may not enter listing properties if they don’t have one.
With the new regulations by the state, agents are also responsible for “thorough cleaning and disinfecting between showings.”  C.A.R. was able to have language removed from the law that also would have required period deep cleaning of the listing properties.  It is unclear who is required to do the cleaning, but it is most likely the showing agent(s) as the occupants of the home and the listing agent(s) is/are not present during and immediately after showings.
If you are conducting “open houses by appointment” agents will need to adjust the appointment times to allow for the thorough cleaning and disinfection in between each showing.
C.A.R. hopes to send out the revised Best Practices, PEAD forms and pictogram to all members later this week. 

Can I Buy or Sell a House During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

Coronavirus

As spring homebuying season approached this year, Mike and Tammy York of Lompoc, California, listed their house for sale and started looking for a home to buy in Bakersfield, California, where they want to retire.

But then the coronavirus outbreak called everything into question. When the governor of California issued a statewide stay-at-home order March 19, the York’s wondered if they were stuck.

“We thought, ‘Now what are we going to do?'” Mike York says.

Welcome to today’s real estate market, where many ask if it’s still possible to buy or sell. As the Yorks have found, the answer is yes, though the process includes some new challenges.

“There are people out there buying and selling real estate,” says Jeanne Radsick, president of the California Association of Realtors and a real estate agent with Century 21 Jordan-Link & Co. in Bakersfield. “But it’s not just business-as-usual.”

Government social distancing regulations vary by state, county and city. Some states never instituted stay-at-home orders. Others plan to reopen soon, and still others have not set a date to end strict shelter-in-place requirements. Rules about whether real estate is an essential service during a stay-at-home order also vary.

If, like the York’s, you want to sell or buy a home despite the pandemic, here are some of the things you may encounter.

About the author: Barbara Marquand writes about homeownership and mortgages, and is NerdWallet’s authority on insurance.

Home Inspections

Home Inspection

I was curious as to how the home inspectors were handling the coronavirus so I reached out to Josie at TAG for an update.  Her response is below.
Hey Robert,
As of now, we are still working our inspections that were on the books.
We usually were 14 weeks fully booked with 2 per day.
What we did to minimize exposure is spread out our inspections doing 1 per day only which will keep us busy till about 3 weeks into April.
And with restrictions of course.
Properties need to be vacant, no tenants, buyers or sellers present and we wear our protective gear. 

Hope this helps,
Josie& Alan

Tag, inc

March 2020 NV East Shore Update

REAL ESTATE UPDATE LAKE TAHOE

We had 16 residential home/condo sales on the Nevada East Shore during March. A 23% increase from the 13 sales in March of 2019. The median sales price also increased from $900,000 to $1,190,000 for residential home sales yet the average days on market declined from 223 days last year to 142 days. For those curious if any properties were withdrawn from the market there were 16 withdrawn this year as compared to only 7 in March 2019. Agents are finding other ways to show your property at this time. I have been using video for my listings as well as for buyers not wanting to venture inside our current listings. I am also wearing gloves at this time and have noticed owners placing sanitizer near their front doors for everyone’s use. Be safe everyone. Learn more by visiting RealEstateLakeTahoeStiles.com for more information. Call 775-309-8454 to schedule an appointment.

California Association of REALTORS® Guidance Statement

Coronavirus

“Governor Newsom and the State Public Health Officer issued Executive Order N-33-20 requiring all Californians to stay home except as needed to maintain continuity of operations in 16 infrastructure sectors. This supersedes all existing local city and county orders that are less restrictive. The real estate industry is not exempt from this prohibition except as needed to maintain “continuity of operation … of … construction, including housing construction.” Therefore, REALTORS® should cease doing all in-person marketing or sales activities, including showings, listing appointments, open houses and property inspections. Clients and other consumers are also subject to these orders and should not be visiting properties or conducting other business in person. 

Property management and repair work, which generally involves maintaining sanitary and safety conditions is permissible. Additionally, many other aspects of the real estate industry can continue to occur without in-person contact, including documentation and signing, and in many circumstances, closings. Other activities may also be managed remotely, though there may be some difficulties.”

Disclosure of Potential COVID 19 Exposure

What to do if an agent learns that a visitor to the property, including potentially another agent, tested positive to COVID 19 — is disclosure required or recommended?

This information would be material to anyone at risk for potential exposure but raises the question of whether it’s a property concern or a people concern. Is the concern that the property site itself might have been or is contaminated? Or is the risk of having been around a particular person? And was this person on or offsite from the property?

Legally, known material conditions related to the property should be disclosed. Per the CDC, it’s possible the virus can spread from contact with infected surfaces or objects on a property, meaning a person could get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. However, the more relevant aspect to potential exposure pertains to the timing of contact with the property and the infected person and any others who came for a period thereafter. This is not purely or a per-se property condition. But to be on the safe side, a disclosure could be made. Disclosing through the MLS would not be the most effective way to communicate this information because (a) no further showings should be ongoing under the order of March 19, 2020, and (b) the concern at issue is backward-oriented and person-focused (and not a permanent property condition) for those potential visitors and/or agents identifiable from lockbox or other records as having been at the property during that time period with the exposed person. Notice could then be given in a targeted way.   

If making a disclosure, it should be done in a generic way so as not to invade privacy or implicate personal information. This would mean not using names but a general description along the line of “a visitor to the property on Xdate has tested positive for COVID 19.” 

“© California Association of REALTORS®, Inc. Reprinted under a limited license with permission.”

What responsibilities does a tenant have?

Tenants and Landlords

The tenant’s duty to maintain

If the leased premises is in need of repair, whether minor or major, the tenant needs to notify the landlord of the condition. The notification may be made orally, or in writing.

After advising the landlord of the need for repairs, the tenant may make the repairs and deduct the cost of the repairs from the next month’s rent if:

  • the landlord fails to make the necessary repairs within a reasonable time after notice of the defect; and
  • the cost of repairs does not exceed the amount of one month’s rent, called the repair and deduct remedy.

The repair and deduct remedy may not be used more than twice in any 12-month period. [CC §1942(a)]

However, the repair-and-deduct remedy is not available to the tenant when the need for repair is created by the tenant’s conduct. [CC §1942(c)]

Over the course of the tenancy, normal wear and tear is expected to occur. Thus, the landlord may not charge the tenant for any minor defects due to normal wear and tear that are discovered in the pre-expiration inspection.

However, the tenant breaches their duty to care for and maintain the premises when the tenant:

  • contributes substantially to the dilapidation of the premises; or
  • substantially interferes with the landlord’s duty to maintain the premises. [CC §1941.2(a)]

For example, a tenant does not notify their landlord of a leak in the roof that is causing damage to the ceiling of the rental unit. Eventually, the ceiling falls down, causing damage to the tenant’s personal property, the walls and the floor coverings. Here, the tenant interfered with the landlord’s duty to maintain the property since the tenant failed to:

  • notify the landlord of the leak in the roof; or
  • repair the leak.

Therefore, the tenant is liable to the landlord for the cost of repairing the damaged ceiling since they neglected to report the water seepage.

A reasonable time for the landlord to make necessary repairs after notice is 30 days, unless the need to repair is urgent and requires more immediate attention. [CC §1942(b)]

The landlord’s duty to maintain

A residential landlord has a general obligation to:

  • put a residential unit in a condition fit for occupancy prior to leasing; and
  • repair all unsafe and unsanitary conditions that occur during occupancy that would render the unit uninhabitable.

Further, all residential rental and lease agreements automatically contain an implied warranty of habitability. The unwritten warranty imposes a contractual duty on a landlord to keep their residential units fit for human occupancy at all times. [Green v. Superior Court of the City and County of San Francisco (1974) 10 C3d 616]

The landlord’s statutory obligation to maintain their residential units requires the landlord to correct major defects interfering with the tenant’s ability to live on the property, such as a lack of hot water or a leaky roof.

The residential landlord has an obligation to care for and maintain all major and structural components of residential rental units. They are also further obligated to repair minor defects. Minor defects include such conditions as:

  • leaky faucets;
  • faulty electrical switches; and
  • failed locks or latches.

Typically, a residential landlord agrees in the rental or lease agreement to care for and maintain the property, which includes the repair of minor defects. [See RPI Form 550]

The landlord’s failure to repair or replace minor defects constitutes a breach of provisions in the rental or lease agreement. The landlord who breaches the lease agreement by failing to make minor repairs is required to reimburse the tenant for reasonable costs incurred by the tenant to cure the defects.

So that both tenant and landlord are on the same page about the unit’s condition upon move-in, they need to complete a Condition of Premises Addendum. [See RPI Form 560]

When the unit is furnished, the landlord and tenant also need to complete a Condition of Furnishings Addendum. [See RPI Form 561]

Before the tenant vacates, the landlord needs to conduct a pre-expiration inspection. If the landlord finds any damage sustained to the unit, fixtures or furnishings, they will record these on a statement of deficiencies. The cost to repair any defects not corrected before the tenant moves out will be deducted from their security deposit. Further, the landlord may demand payment for any damages exceeding the security deposit. [Calif. Civil Code §1950.5(b)]

Provided by ft Editorial Staff