As we navigate the Covid-19 pandemic, many of us have been placed in situations that we never would have anticipated. While it is a good idea to retain the help of a knowledgeable property law attorney if you are facing a complex situation, it may also help to understand some legal responses to four of the most commonly asked questions that Florida realtors are asking during the pandemic.
What Unique Legal Complications Does COVID-19 Bring to the Real Estate Industry?
In situations in which viruses and other diseases like COVID-19 become connected with certain populations, there is a tendency for uneasiness about the virus to become associated with a social stigma. For example, even though COVID-19 originated in China, realtors must not treat Chinese or Asian individuals differently from anyone else. Florida realtors must remain mindful of the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination in regards to housing.
Is it Permissible to Ask Clients if They Have Traveled Recently or Have COVID-19 Symptoms?
As coronavirus numbers spike in Florida, it is permissible to ask clients or any other business associates if they have recently traveled to areas with large numbers of COVID-19 cases. It is also permissible to inquire about how clients are feeling. To avoid any allegations of discrimination under the Fair Housing Act, however, it is a good idea to ask all clients the same questions about COVID-19 risk factors.
Are Buyers and Sellers Permitted to Terminate or Delay Contracts Due to COVID-19?
In some situations, buyers and sellers are permitted to either terminate or delay contracts due to COVID-19. This situation changes on a case-by-case basis, which is why it is a wise idea to retain the assistance of a property law attorney who can fully evaluate the situation. Also, consider that the Florida Realtors organization makes available a COVID-19 Extension Addendum to Contract form, which is available in situations in which parties would like to extend certain dates or periods due to COVID-19. The form includes checkbox options for closing dates, due diligence periods, feasibility study periods, financing periods, homeowners’/condominium association approval, inspection periods, and title cure periods.
What Precautions Should You Take at Open Houses?
There are several important practices to follow if you hold an open house. First, you should make sure the house is adequately cleaned. Second, you should question visitors about their health condition and whether they have traveled to any COVID-19 impacted areas, or recently been in contact with someone who has the virus. Visitors should also be required to sign in to open houses. Visitors should also be instructed to maintain a distance of six feet from others. Lastly, you should limit the number of people in the open house to fewer than 10.
Speak with a Knowledgeable Florida Property Law Attorney
If you have questions or concerns about the real estate process and need the help of a property law attorney, do not hesitate to contact the Adam Law Group today.