Real Estate Specific Updates: Federal, State and Municipal Resources

Real Estate Industry Updates:

Last updated: 2/28/20

Fair Housing
  • Guidance for cleaning of summer rentals.
  • 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
  • Smoke/CO Inspections: 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.

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

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

For legal questions, please contact Monica Staaf – General Counsel at 401-432-6945 or

Looking for legislative or municipal updates? Email your questions to

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