As we navigate this crisis, our topmost priority is to understand and communicate conducting business during the pandemic.
Sonoma County Renter & Landlord Assistance Program OPEN!
The County of Sonoma has awarded $2.37 million to local nonprofits for residents whose ability to pay rent has been impacted by COVID-19, as well as to low-income landlords who have lost income as a result of COVID-19. Contact West County Services; Friends in Sonoma, Petaluma People Services and Community Action Partnership to apply.
Residents can receive up to $6,000 for six months of rental assistance, which can include current and back payments of rent and utilities. Renters and landlords may contact the nonprofits for application information (County of Sonoma).
COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020 Quick Guide. Click here to access.
Click here for the latest orders and information on Shelter in Place orders.COVID UPDATES FROM THE CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
On July 2, the Departments of Public Health and Cal/OSHA released new guidance on COVID-19, including some relating to real estate. While there are some changes in office openings, cleaning protocols and other issues which required minor changes in the BPPP and related forms, they do not significantly change practices.
As a reminder, cities or counties may be more restrictive than State Guidance and orders. Mendocino, Napa and Lake Counties have more restrictive rules. See our COVID Tracker for more information. The more restrictive rule takes precedence and must be adhered to. In those jurisdictions prohibiting “Open Houses” altogether, “Open House” signs should not be used at all.
“Open Houses” on a walk-in basis are still prohibited. All showings still require either an appointment or a digital sign-in process prior to entry including completing a PEAD form. Any such showings still must follow these rules: (1) Have protective equipment made available like masks and hand sanitizer; (2) Thoroughly clean all shown properties and disinfect commonly used areas such as doors and door knobs, cabinet handles, switches, etc; (3) Control the number of people in the house by only allowing in one buying party at a time (which could be more than one person). The listing agent and buyer's agent may also be on the property at the same time; (4) All showings require appointments OR digital sign-ins.
Based on this, an advertisement using the term "Open House" alone is likely deceptive as it implies a walk-in basis without the mandatory appointments/digital sign-in protocols that are not typical for an “Open House.” Although it is recommended that no “Open House” signs be used, if they are, they must also include information on the sign or a sign rider indicating that appointments or digital sign-in are required before entry. Of course, the regular protocols of advance digital completion of PEAD forms before entering, social distancing, limitations on persons going through the house at one time, cleaning and disinfecting between each showing, etc. apply. However, any type of traditional open houses -- spontaneous walk-up with no digital sign-in or appointment or adherence to all protocols—would threaten the policy allowing licensees to show property and, worse, threaten the health of the seller and those visiting potentially causing a super-spreader event.
Realtors® using “Open House” signs or advertisements without the riders about advance appointments or digital sign-in may be subject to ethics discipline for violating the “true picture” test under Article 12 as the common understanding of an “Open House” by the public and the industry does not include advance digital sign-ins or appointments, along with the other protocols that would delay a spontaneous showing. In the end, variations on this would have to be decided by panels, in the context of the COVID-19 rules in place at the time.
Please also be aware the Department of Real Estate has reassigned 17 employees including 5 or 6 recently hired special investigators from its Los Angeles office to assist the Department of Public Health with contact tracing efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19. As for licensees who may be violating/have violated the Governor’s Executive Orders, if the DRE learns of such violations, they indicated their focus is to educate the subject licensee and remind him/her of the importance to follow the Executive Orders and take efforts to minimize/eliminate the spread of the virus. Although the DRE did not explicitly so state, it is also possible that if these violations are egregious or repeated, they may also be reported to the authorities for further action.
Members who have questions about this guidance or anything else relating to transactions, should contact the C.A.R. Legal Hotline.
Call Before Showing (CBS) Code on your Lockboxes
You can establish a Call Before Showing Code on your lockboxes to restrict access if you use the eKey app. If you set a CBS Code, agents will have to contact you and enter an additional code to open the lockbox.Click here for instructions
. (Thank you to David Kerr for the instructions.)Visual InspectionsGuidance on Visual Inspections Disclosure