COVID19

COVID-19: Updates from RI REALTORS®

Check regularly for new information and visit our
OPEN HOUSE/SHOWING GUIDANCE, REAL ESTATE FAQs and
REALTOR UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS FAQS for more details!

Last updated: 02/22/21

FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Increases Lending to Small Businesses in Need, Announces Changes to PPP to Further Promote Equitable Access to Relief

The Biden administration announced Tuesday that it would extend the foreclosure moratorium and mortgage forbearance through the end of June. The actions would block home foreclosures and offer delayed mortgage payments until July, as well as offer six months of additional mortgage forbearance for those who enroll on or before June 30.

The eviction moratorium remains in effect through March but was not included in the actions announced Tuesday.

The departments of Housing and Urban Development, Veterans Affairs and Agriculture will work together to enact the actions, according to the announcement from the White House. Resources for homeowners will be consolidated on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s website.


Due to the positive trend in positivity rates in R.I., the state is easing social gathering limits from one household to two households indoors and three households outdoors starting Friday, Feb. 12.

Restrictions on restaurants and houses of worship will also be relaxed. The changes include the opening of bar areas to parties of up to four people from two households with a 90-minute limit, and an 11 p.m. curfew.  Groups of guests will either required to be spaced 6 feet apart, or 3 feet apart with spacing barriers.

The capacity limit at venues of worship increases from 25% to 40%, with a cap of 125 people.

Indoor dining will remain at 50% capacity, two households per table and up to an eight-person limit, and the rest of the state’s restrictions will remain the same.

See the updated Executive Orders.


Questions about vaccines? Watch the Governor’s Q and A.


SBA Update – 2/10/21: The U.S. Small Business Administration and lenders are taking more strides to improve the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) so that small businesses can access much needed PPP funds to persevere through the pandemic, recover, and build back better. The Administration is working with the Agency to increase equitable access to underserved small businesses, to assure the integrity of the program, and to promote rapid and efficient distribution of funds. Get all the details here.


Revised COVID Executive Orders – in effect through March 6.


Play it safe in 2021! Follow the rules still in effect for open houses! If someone complains to DBR that too many people entered an open house at one time, did not wear masks, and/or did not wipe down surfaces between groups, DBR will investigate and the let the licensee know that if more complaints are received, they will send an inspector to every open house hosted by that licensee.


See the R.I. Dept. of Health’s estimated timeline for vaccines here: https://health.ri.gov/publications/guidelines/COVID19-vaccine-timeline.pdf

Find vaccine process updates here: COVID-19 Vaccine | RI COVID-19 Information Portal


Join SBA February 1st and February 10th For A Hands-on, Interactive Seminar on COVID Relief Program Updates: Pandemic Relief Options for Small Businesses.  Click on the links above to register.


R.I.’s early closing restrictions on restaurants (not bars) will be lifted Sunday, January 31st.


Businesses who didn’t receive forgiveness on their Paycheck Protection Program loans can now claim a tax credit instead, thanks to a provision in last month’s coronavirus stimulus package. According to guidance posted on January 21st, the IRS pointed to a provision of the legislation that allows employers to claim the tax credit even if they have received a Small Business Interruption Loan under the Paycheck Protection Program.


Moratoriums for evictions and foreclosures for federally backed mortgages which were set to expire on January 31st have been extended through March 31.


The SBA PPP application portal recently is open to all participating PPP lenders as of Tuesday, January 19. For information on 2nd draw PPP loans, loan forgiveness, lenders and more, click here.


Executive Orders – extended through February 17


SBA, in consultation with the Treasury Department, has recently released additional PPP guidance:  

For more information and updates, visit SBA.gov/PPP or Treasury.gov/CARES.


Unemployment fraud has ramped up in Rhode Island.  If you should receive a fraudulent unemployment claim form, please call the unemployment office at 401-243-9137 to report that it is a fraudulent claim.  You can also call 401-462-1522 (the Fraud Tip line) and leave a message there.  It is very important for each individual who receives a fraudulent claim form to call the State at 401-243-9137 to make sure the claim is not processed.


Be safe in 2021! To reduce transmission of COVID-19,  RI REALTORS strongly encourages members to refrain from holding in-person open houses during this time.


Questions about the eviction moratorium? Read NAR’s updated FAQs here.


Update: The COVID relief bill has been signed into law by President Trump. 12/21/20: Congress has approved a COVID relief bill, thanks to the NAR’s advocacy team, RIAR’s members will benefit from some of the key provisions of the relief package highlighted below. We will keep our members apprised as more details of the relief package emerge.

  • Direct Payments: Provides a new round of direct stimulus payments of $600 to most Americans including dependents.
  • Unemployment Insurance: Extends Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), through April 19, 2021, with a $300 weekly boost in payments. through March 14. Independent contractors such as REALTORS will remain eligible for the benefits.
  • Payroll Protection Program (PPP): Provides an additional $284 billion for loans.
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL): Provides $20 billion for grants.
  • Rental Assistance and Housing Expenses: Provides $25 billion to the states through Sept. 30, 2022, for rental assistance and allows landlords to apply for funds on behalf of tenants.
  • Broadband Expansion: Provides $7 billion to states for broadband expansion, including $300 million for rural broadband.
  • Schools and Vaccine Distribution: Provides new money for schools and vaccine distribution.

See NAR’s Federal Advocacy Responses to COVID-19


 

Questions about quarantine requirements? Click here and learn how to protect your household here.

Find out what the travel restrictions are in the different states/locales here.


 

 

 

Please be advised, the State of Rhode Island is currently performing random spot audits of open houses to ensure they are being held in compliance with the Rhode Island Phase III Guidelines. THOSE WHO DON’T COMPLY ARE IN VIOLATION OF STATE LAW AND CAN BE FINED AND/OR NAMED PUBLICLY as other businesses have been.  Also be aware that Governor Raimondo has encouraged the public to report infractions.

Please review the guidelines as they relate to physical space occupancy limits, business processes, screening procedures, enhanced cleaning and more in order to retain our ability to host open houses.  Also, please find resources such as screening templates, signage, etc. under General Office Guidance on CommerceRI.com. (Scroll to the bottom of the CommerceRI web page to see resources.)

Properties with a quarantined individual in the property are not available for any type of in-person showing.

MLS Customers should also:

  • Use the Open House Comments section to spell out the “rules” regarding their open houses and;
  • Cooperating Brokers should LOOK for the Open House comments BEFORE sending their customers to an Open House to make sure they understand the rules of the open house.

Is your tenant behind on rent? As of August 6, 2020, the Rhode Island District Court requires a Safe Harbor Housing Program flyer to be included with a Five-Day Demand Notice for Non-Payment of Rent.   The Safe Harbor Housing program provides rental assistance to landlords who are renting to low to moderate-income tenants who are at risk of eviction because they cannot pay their rent due to a COVID-19 related financial hardship. See more information here.

UPDATE: Rhode Island residents no longer need to prove they’ve lost income due to COVID-19 in order to be eligible for the state’s rent relief programs. The $5000 cap was also lifted and the number of months of coverage increased from 5 to 10. Applications for rent assistance can be filed through the Safe Harbor Housing Program.


See the latest real estate/tenant transaction guidelines on the RI Dept. of Business Regulation’s website. 

Also, see what you are being asked to do regarding out-of-state visitors and clients and access the Certificate of Compliance of Out-of-State Travel requirements here.


There will be no in-person meetings, events or classes held by RI REALTORS® until further notice. 

Information REALTORS® need to know:

This page and the links below will be continually updated as information becomes available.

Thank you for your patience during this challenging time. Please check this website often for updates. If you have further questions after reviewing this information, please email covid19@rirealtors.org.

For legal questions, please contact Monica Staaf – General Counsel at 401-432-6945 or monica@rirealtors.org.

Looking for legislative or municipal updates? Email your questions to governmentaffairs@rirealtors.org.

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Leann D'Ettore
Leann D'Ettore

Stay positive everyone! RIAR leadership and staff are all working hard to find solutions for every single hitch that threatens our ability to continue serving our clients during these unique circumstances. Please post you concerns here and we will do our best to work together to make the best of it and find the best solutions for everyone.

Jean Michael
Jean Michael

RI Governor is mandating that as of today 3/22/2020 No Open Houses are allowed. Why is RIRealtors.org saying differently such as it’s at the realtor and sellers discretion to do them limiting to ten people at a time?

Monica Staaf
Monica Staaf

Check out the new COVID-19 Addendum to Purchase and Sales Agreement under REALTOR® SPECIFIC INFORMATION on this page. Please contact me with any questions at monica@rirealtors.org. I have worked with Rhode Island REALTORS® for nearly twenty years because I admire you for your entrepreneurial spirit, creativity, and the care that you provide to your clients and customers. For those of you who are newer to real estate, please know that REALTORS®, over the years, have survived the banking crisis, 9/11, double digit interest rates, recessions, and many other challenges. We’re all working together – leadership, staff, and you – to… Read more »

RI REALTORS - Staff
RI REALTORS - Staff

Hi Jean, contrary to what you may have heard on the news, the Gov. requested that we ask members to stop holding open houses. Legally, if agents/owners can limit the open houses to less than 10 people at a time, they are allowed to hold them. However, RAIR does not recommend it. Please see here for more information: https://www.rirealtors.org/riar-mls-ask-realtors-to-refrain-from-holding-open-houses/

Benjamin Newcomb
Benjamin Newcomb

This is exactly why we have to catch up to speed with the overwhelming majority of markets and move to online deeds, SUPRA or other lockboxes, and virtual closings! There is a huge opportunity here to get us up to speed with better technology, increased access/productivity-> it’s time we evolve in RI. I know we are a stubborn bunch, but the rewards are so clearly attainable.

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Linda Elliot
Linda Elliot

Hi Monica, I applied for unemployment benefits this morning at http://www.dlt.state.ri.us/
I received a notice today from my office manager stating that all licensed realtors had received a notice today to apply at https://covidemergencyuibenefits.dlt.ri.gov/
Do you know if realtors need to apply only to this site?
I look forward to hearing from you.
Regards,
Linda Elliot
Coldwell Banker

Kate
Kate

Now that the stay at home order is lifted and phase 1 of re-opening has begun, is the governor still urging agents to refrain from holding open houses?

RI REALTORS
RI REALTORS

Open house guidance remains as it has been. Until there is a change announced by the Governor, RI Realtors is still advising refraining from holding in-person open houses which could result in a situation where people are waiting in line outside to get in. We are hearing of some REALTORs who have been arranging back-to-back showings one day a week. We also have new tools on Matrix which offer live stream open houses and virtual tours. Hope this helps. Stay safe.