COVID19

Real Estate Specific Updates: Federal, State and Municipal Resources

Real Estate Industry Updates:

Last updated: 5/30/20

FEDERAL UPDATES
New Tax Extension Deadline
  • The IRS is moving Tax Day from April 15 to July 15. All taxpayers and businesses will have this additional time to file and make payments without interest or penalties. NOTE: The R.I. Division of Taxation has also postponed the filing-and-payment deadline for individuals and certain entities to July 15, 2020. Follow updates on http://www.tax.ri.gov/COVID/.
  • 1031 Like-Kind Exchanges: If an investor has taken the first step of a like-kind exchange by selling the old property, and either the 45-day or the 180-day deadline falls between April 1 and July 15, the deadline has now been extended to July 15.
  • Opportunity Fund Investments: If an investor who sold a capital asset planned to roll over the gain into an Opportunity Fund and the 180-day deadline to do so falls between April 1 and July 15, they can now make the investment as late as July 15.
  • Quarterly Estimated Tax Deadline Extension (1st & 2nd Quarter): As a result of the IRS’ earlier notice of deadline extensions, the deadline for first quarter estimated tax payments was already extended to July 15. But before this new IRS deadline relief notice was released today, second quarter estimated payments were still due on June 15, meaning that the second quarter payments were due before the first. Now, both first quarter AND second quarter estimated tax payments are due at the same time, on July 15, 2020, for those who file quarterly.
Foreclosures & Evictions
  • The court will begin to process all evictions as of July 1, 2020.
  • Beginning July 1st, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will have a new payment deferral option to offer homeowners to repay their forborne payments. Also, a 90-day mortgage forbearance is available from 20 RI banks.
Appraisals

HUD, VA and USDA all have protocols in place for exterior appraisals. All three entities announced on Friday March 27th the ability for appraisals to be completed based upon exterior-only observations.  Read more hereAppraisal Rule Change  On April 14th, Federal banking regulators announced that banks will soon be able to postpone appraisals on residential or commercial property for 120 days after the loan is closed. This new rule only applies to banks under the oversight of the Fed, FDIC and OCC, and does not apply to loans guaranteed by FHA, HUD, VA, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Those agencies will still require an appraisal before closing.  Learn more.  Also see Best Practices for REALTORS.

Flood Insurance

FEMA is extending the grace period to renew flood insurance policies from 30 to 120 days in order to help NFIP policyholders experiencing financial hardships.  See question #16 on FAQs for more details.

Fair Housing
STATE UPDATES

Phase 3 guidance for residential Realtors  in effect June 30, 2020

Rentals:

The State of Rhode Island is instructing those involved in real estate and tenant transactions to:

  • In Phase 3, those coming to RI from a state with a 5% or higher COVID-19 rate, must quarantine. Realtors are asked to apprise their clients. State rates can be found here.

Tenant and Landlord assistance:

6/12/20 Update: The Housing Now Campaign which guarantees rents and financial incentives to R.I. landlords with vacant units, runs until July 1. Find information here.

5/28/2020 Update: Rhode Island is making $5 million in emergency rental assistance available to low-income renters who have been impacted by the COVID-19 emergency and are at immediate risk of homelessness. Those who qualify can receive a grant of up to $5,000 to support past due rent payments and other fees. Requirement information and details are available at HousingHelpRI.com or by calling 211.

Guidance for cleaning of summer rentals.

Mortgage Assistance:
  • Beginning July 1st, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will have a new payment deferral option to offer homeowners to repay their forborne payments.
  • Rhode Island’s financial institutions have stepped up with a pledge to help homeowners facing economic hardship. The relief includes a 90-Day grace period for all residential mortgage payments for individuals impacted by COVID-19. Banks will also not report late payments to credit rating companies, so late payments will not negatively impact credit scores. Find more information on the Department of Business Regulation’s website.
Home Inspections:

Enforcement of home inspector licensing moved from May 1 to July 1.

Remote Notarizations:

Secretary Gorbea Announces Remote Online Notarization to Enable Business to Continue During COVID-19 Emergency

DBR/State Exams/RI REALTORS® Classes:
  • Please visit the RI REALTORS® Professional Development Center’s Class Schedule to determine if a class has been cancelled, postponed or will be delivered via live broadcast. Registration for classes delivered via live broadcast closes at 4pm the day before.
  • Updated: 5/13/20: Pearson Vue reopens limited number of testing centers for real estate and appraiser testing with safety protocols in place – learn more.
Smoke/CO Inspections:

7/9 Mass. Update: Mass. News: On Friday, July 10th, Governor Baker will be rescinding the Emergency Order that allows parties in Mass. to defer the smoke and carbon monoxide inspection until after closing. Buyers that agreed to defer inspections now need to reach out to the local fire department to schedule the required inspection by Thursday, October 8, 2020. Read the official notice here.

RI has issued the bulletins below to address concerns about smoke/CO detector and other fire safety inspections. It’s critical to note that none of the below is mandatory. Local fire marshals can refuse to conduct inspections or accept any of these, according to Julietta Georgakis, Deputy Director of DBR. Normally, the State Fire Marshal can intervene if a local fire marshal will not issue a certificate, but they are backlogged due to statewide public safety procedures. Homeowners should contact their local elected officials and fire district leadership to allow for these alternatives.

  • FILE NO: 20-01 – The Fire Safety Code Board of Appeal and Review issued this bulletin which waives deadlines for inspections, such as periodic inspections of fire safety systems in restaurants and other uses.
  • FILE NO. DDE2020-BV-1 – The Fire Safety Code Board of Appeal and Review issued this bulletin which offers alternatives for local fire marshals to conduct smoke/carbon monoxide detector systems for single-family homes, and two- and three-family dwellings.

Inspections can be handled in three ways (if authorized by the local fire marshal):  

  • Conducted In-person using social distancing and other health and safety protocol.
  • By submitting a video of the smoke/CO detector system to the fire marshal. (The RI Association of REALTORS® recommends having the occupant do this in a dwelling that is occupied.)
  • Closing without a smoke/CO detector certificate. The seller would need to provide documentation that he or she has created an escrow account in the amount of $150 payable to the buyer. The inspection would be conducted within 60 days after the Termination of the Declaration of Disaster Emergency. If the system fails inspection once it is conducted, the $150 must be released to the buyer.
MUNICIPAL UPDATES

(Includes information on recordings, smoke inspections, etc.)

 

NAR UPDATES

The National Association of REALTORS® is providing guidance to help REALTORS® respond to COVID-19 and its impact on the real estate industry and real estate transactions. Any updates from NAR and its response to the coronavirus emergency can be found on nar.realtor/coronavirus.

 

Don’t see what you are looking for on this page? More helpful resources:

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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