Colorado Real Estate Brokers: Protect Yourself (And Your Clients) From COVID-19 Risk
The Colorado state-wide Stay-at-Home Order, discussed in prior versions of this article, expired on April 26, 2020. In its place, the Governor of Colorado issued a state-wide Safer At Home Order effective through at least May 26, 2020, and perhaps beyond. The Safer At Home Order says that real estate showings and marketing services may resume in accordance with specific requirements, but brokers may not hold open houses.
Some, but not all, of the relevant portions of the Safer At Home Order state employers shall:
deputize a workplace coordinator charged with addressing COVID-19 issues;
implement symptom monitoring protocols (including temperature monitoring), conduct daily temperature checks and monitor symptoms in employees; and
provide appropriate protective gear like gloves, masks, and face coverings.
Additional, but not exhaustive, relevant portions of the Safer At Home Order mandate that:
when scheduling or conducting field services, either the employer or employee must inquire whether third-party homes have individuals symptomatic for COVID-19 or have been in contact with known positive cases; and
employers must maintain a detailed log of customer interactions to enable contact tracing if it becomes necessary. The log should include name, date, and location of contact, as well as the contact’s phone number and/or email address.
Importantly, local counties or municipalities are not restricted from adopting more protective standards than those contained in the state-wide Safer At Home Order. Whether or not a brokerage firm must abide by stricter protocols or a real estate broker is permitted to conduct specific activities is dependent on the applicable county or municipality’s specific governmental directive. Many Colorado counties and municipalities have already enacted stricter standards that continue to evolve.
Please contact me if you have any questions with respect to the state-wide Safer At Home Order or any specific county or municipality directive. As brokers and property managers navigate this ever-evolving COVID-19 reality, they should consider implementing COVID-19-specific contractual provisions and obtaining waivers and releases to protect themselves, their businesses, and their clients.
A. Real Estate Broker and Property Manager Risk Reduction
I’ve seen several COVID-19 risk reduction tools circulating in the marketplace, including MLS COVID-19-related warnings, COVID-19 front door notices, and ‘COVID-19 symptom-free’ certifications. While all of those options are better than ‘business as usual,’ a simple disclosure and release is the benchmark when it comes to protecting broker, business, and clients.
Our firm has developed a COVID-19 Disclosure and Release Agreementbundle for real estate brokers to use in every situation regardless of whether the broker represents a seller or buyer. Additionally, our firm has developed a COVID-19 Disclosure and Release Agreement bundle for property managers to use with respect to owners, current tenants, prospective tenants, and vendors.
B. Contract to Buy/Sell and Listing Contract Provisions
Once proper disclosures are in place, real estate brokers should consider protecting their clients’ interests by implementing COVID-19-specific contract clauses. Our firm has also developed COVID-19-specific provisions for the Contract to Buy/Sell and Listing Contracts that cover situations like preliminary buyer inspections, COVID-19-related Contract termination, COVID-19-related dates anddeadlines extensions, and temporary suspension of brokerage services.
If you are interested in one or more of these clauses or products please send me an inquiry with a brief description of your needs. It goes without saying that this is an uncertain time that is rapidly developing on a daily basis. If you do purchase a COVID-19-related product or clause, please contact me intermittently to ensure your version is up-to-date.