COVID-19 Updates for Delaware REALTORS®

Information on this page is grouped by topic. Updates are made as issues evolve.

 FROM DAR

April 2, 2020: Advisory Guidance for Safe Practices for Real Estate Agents in Delaware to Comply with the State of Emergency Declared for our safety by Governor Carney. Access the advisory here.

Sales Guide to Safe Practices for Real Estate Agents in Delaware to Comply with the State of Emergency declared for our safety by Governor Carney.

This has been reviewed through the Division of Small Business which has the authority to issue clarifications of the Declaration of Emergency. Your actions impact your neighbors and your neighbors’ actions impact you. It is your duty to protect yourself and your clients. Click here to access the guide.

Short Term Rental Guide to Safe Practices for Real Estate Agents in Delaware to Comply with the State of Emergency declared for our safety by Governor Carney.

Authoritative guidance for agents handling short-term rentals has been issued. If this State of Emergency extends into the season of “check-in” for short-term rentals, DAR will obtain additional guidance for this process as it sometimes involves in-person contact. DAR is coordinating with the Delaware Apartment Council to provide guidance for agents handling year-round rentals, and we should have those guidelines to pass along to you within the next couple of days. Click here to access the guide.

Special COVID-19 Forms Available

Three new forms are in response to the COVID-19 health emergency. The forms have been uploaded to dotloop and can be accessed there now.

  • COVID-19 Addendum to Listing. Available in dotloop, ZipForms, and the DAR website

This form can be used for sellers to choose to continue showings and access to the property for potential buyers, agents, inspectors, appraisers etc. OR to have the status changed to Temporarily Off the Market for a certain number of days, at which time the listing will then become Active. If you have already had this discussion with sellers, and they are comfortable with your discussion, then you do not need to present them with this form. If you need to have this discussion with your sellers, then this form may help. This is for properties not yet under contract. For properties already under contract you will have individual discussions about continuing with the process towards settlement. For those properties you may want to consider the next form.

  •  COVID-19 Addendum to Agreement of Sale: Available in dotloop, ZipForms, and the DAR website

This can be used for existing Agreements or those just being negotiated. This addendum provides if there is a COVID-19 Related Delay, then the party experiencing the delay can notify the other party with a brief explanation of the delay. This will then activate a delay in all time deadlines that have not yet passed for up to 30 days. The parties will continue to work in good faith toward settlement. If the mortgage doesn’t fund due to COVID-19 reasons, then the buyer may cancel and receive a refund of deposit money. If the delay extends beyond the 30 days, then either party may terminate with deposit money refunded to the buyer. If the parties are willing to consider a longer extension than 30 days, you can hand-write a different time period and have the parties initial.

  • COVID-19 Certification for Property Showings/Visits: Available currently only from the DAR website

Each person that attends a showing/visit must sign this form to acknowledge that the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) represents a serious health threat, and requires that each person certify seven statements that are designed to help protect the health of all involved.

DAR Facebook LIVE, March 23: Click here.

DREC

License Renewal Accommodations

The Real Estate Commission issued guidelines today for license renewal. The April 30 deadline will remain the same, with renewal available online. Those unable to complete license renewal online by April 30 will have 60 days from the time the Governor lifts the current state of emergency. CE requirements are online at dpr.delaware.gov, and technical help for online renewal is available at 302-744-4500.

 

Update on Revisions to DREC Regulations

The final revisions to the Education Regulations became effective March 11. They may be viewed here.

At the February meeting, the Commission reviewed all comments made at the public hearing and written comments that were received after the hearing. The proposed revisions to regulations including Advertising and Teams were changed slightly at the February Commission meeting and published. The changes included the following:

  • All team names must include one of the following words: Team, Group, Associates.
  • Online advertising must comply within 60 days of the effective date
  • Other types of advertising must comply within 6 months of the effective date

A full copy of the revised regulations can be found here.

Please be advised that while Delaware remains under a State of Emergency, the Division of Professional Regulation will be conducting all public meetings solely by teleconference. Members of the public are permitted to participate in meetings via telephone, and all public agendas will include the participation telephone number.

Schedule:

  • April 9: DREC public hearing on all proposed revisions
  • May 14: DREC vote on proposed revisions
  • June 1: If there are no further changes, revised regulations will be published
  • June 11: Revised regulations go into effect

 

LOCAL DEED RECORDING

The Kent County Levy Court has made accommodations to keep real estate transactions moving forward, allowing deeds and mortgages to be dropped off for recording at the Kent County Admin building.

The New Castle County Recorder of Deeds office is closed to the public until further notice. External customers are invited to take advantage of their online resources during this time. Copies of documents can be obtained by using the Recorder of Deeds Public Access System. Recordings are accepted through the U.S. Postal Service and through our four eRecording parties. Please click here for more information.

The Sussex County Recorder of Deeds office is closed. For those who need to submit physical copies of plans and permits, a drop-off box is available in the County Administrative Offices building lobby, 2 The Circle, Georgetown. Drop-offs will be received 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. For those individuals dropping off documents, all submissions shall include an intake form. Please fill out, print, and include with your submission when dropping off documents.

 

BRIGHT MLS

Bright is taking steps to help keep the real estate market moving during the coronavirus outbreak, including updates to showing restrictions, virtual tours and virtual showings. Get the latest information here.

Updates

Bright Steps News March 25

Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA)

 

DSHA’s offices on The Green in Dover will continue to be open during normal business hours with very limited public access. We encourage contacting DSHA via phone at 888-363-8808, visiting our websites at www.destatehousing.com and www.kissyourlandlordgoodbye.com. Most of DSHA staff is working remotely, and they are available for your DSHA-related needs. If you are having difficulty reaching a staff member or have any questions, please email us at contactdsha@destatehousing.com for assistance.

 

SMALL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE

 Delaware Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program

Homeowners may qualify for DSHA’s Delaware Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (DEMAP) if they are 90 days or more delinquent on the mortgage of their primary residence. More info is available at: www.destatehousing.com.

 

Small Business Development Center Helps Access Resources

Navigating the complex maze of relief resources can be overwhelming. The Small Business Development Center’s specially trained advisors are here to help. Meet with an SBDC advisor to go over financing options and resiliency strategies. The SBDC has been around for over 35 years helping to sustain or grow businesses, even during the most challenging economic times. We are still here working remotely 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Request free and confidential advising at www.delawaresbdc.org or Delaware-sbdc@udel.edu or 302-831-1555.

 

SCORE Delaware Offers Help for Small Businesses

SCORE volunteer mentors have a wealth of experience to share during this crisis in small business survival. Small business owners need to review the following aspects of their business in order to weather the storm.

  • Manage their cash
  • Review their banking relationships
  • Communicate with their vendors
  • Review any workplace or product liabilities
  • Manage human resources
  • Prevent legal damages
  • Learn what’s available through the SBA and the State of Delaware

Reach out for additional information or request a SCORE mentor on their website.

 

SBA Assistance

Governor John Carney submitted an application formally requesting the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide Delaware an Economy Injury Declaration, which makes loans available to small businesses and nonprofit organizations in New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties. Read more. The SBA is administering and aggressive disaster loan program for small business. To speed a response, the Delaware District Office will be managing the applications for businesses that apply. Contact Laura Wisler at lauar.wisler@delaware.gov for more information. Information is also available on the SBA website.

 

NFIB: Small Business Resources

In an effort to help the small business community, the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) has updated their website to provide a “one-stop shop” of resources for small businesses in response to COVID-19. It includes links to CDC guidance and SBA loan resources. Please click here.

 

ADVOCACY

Legislative Session Postponed

In response to ongoing concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf and Senate President Pro Tempore David McBride announced Wednesday that the Delaware General Assembly is postponing legislative session until further notice. While it is possible that session could resume normal operations at some point in the future, there is no firm date at this time. Legislative leaders will continue to examine the situation with input from public health experts and executive branch agencies to determine the best path forward.

The General Assembly is preparing plans that will be used in the event lawmakers must reconvene to pass legislation that addresses the effects of the coronavirus on Delawareans and state government. Discussions are also underway on how to pass the operating budget, if events continue past the constitutionally required deadline of June. 30.

Legislative Hall remains closed to the public, with no tours or in-person meetings taking place.

 

FINANCIAL

Tax Filing Deadline Extended

The Delaware Division of Revenue (DOR) has extended the deadline for taxpayers to file their 2019 Delaware personal income tax returns to July 15, 2020. DOR and the Internal Revenue Service remain open, and taxpayers are encouraged to continue to file their state and federal returns electronically or by mail. Taxpayers with questions about the status of their refund may use their online tool by clicking here or email DOR_PublicService@delaware.gov.

Individuals who are unable to meet the July 15 filing deadline may file an extension request online on or before July 15 by email to DOR_PublicService@delaware.gov, or through their tax preparer. Taxpayers who have an outstanding balance and need assistance should contact DOR_Collections@delaware.gov. For additional information and updates about DOR’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, please click here to visit their website.

 

REALTORS® HELP

Several real estate brokers have offered their parking lot sites as possible COVID-19 testing locations to help the state if the need arises. To join the effort, contact sara@delawarerealtor.com.

 

DELAWARE.GOV

Gov. Carney Orders Anyone Traveling Into Delaware to Self-quarantine for 14 days.

Governor John Carney on Sunday (March 30) signed the seventh modification to his State of Emergency declaration, ordering all out-of-state travelers into Delaware to immediately self-quarantine for 14 days to fight the spread of COVID-19.

Under Sunday’s order, anyone who enters Delaware from another state must immediately self-quarantine for 14 days. The 14-day period is measured from the time of entry into Delaware or for the duration of the individual’s presence in Delaware, whichever is shorter.

Governor Carney’s order also applies to anyone who has entered Delaware in the last 14 days. Read more

 

DMV Extends Renewal Dates, Waives Late Fees

The Delaware DMV has extended all renewal dates and waived renewal late fees. This includes Driver License, Vehicle Registration, Title Transfers, and Trailer Tags. For up-to-date information on service changes, click here.  Currently the DMV is taking appointments only, however they have a host of online services, including drivers license renewal. For all DMV online services, click the button below.

 

Gov. Carney Shares FAQs on Essential Business

Governor John Carney provided additional guidance from the State on Tuesday to help employers better understand the fourth and fifth modifications to his State of Emergency declaration, which ordered Delawareans to stay at home whenever possible and closed all non-essential businesses in Delaware to help fight the spread of COVID-19. The most frequently asked questions and answers are provided here.

Stay-at-Home Order

Governor John Carney issued modifications to his State of Emergency declaration, modifications to his State of Emergency declaration, ordering Delawareans to stay at home whenever possible and closing all nonessential businesses in Delaware to help fight the spread of COVID-19. Read the fourth modification here, and the fifth modification here.

The orders remain in effect until May 15 or until the public health threat is eliminated

Click here for a full list of essential and non-essential businesses, as defined by the order. Click here for answers to frequently asked questions. Industries related to real estate that may continue to do business under the State of Emergency:

Financial Services: Workers needed to provide consumer access to banking and lending services, including ATMs, and to move currency and payments (e.g., armored car carriers); banks, credit unions, insurance providers, or other financial institutions

Construction: Workers engaged in the construction of residential or nonresidential structures or infrastructure, those who provide critical maintenance to residential or nonresidential structures, or those involved in activities related to the design and apportionment of residential and nonresidential structures

Materials: Businesses that supply materials and hardware to those engaged in the construction of residential or nonresidential structures

Retail and Services: Appliance repair, electricians, exterminators, home repair, plumbers, or any others providing services or equipment necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, necessary product retailers, or necessary service establishments

Professional Services: Legal, registered agent, or accounting services and associated support services

 

Attorney General Kathy Jennings

First Updated Guidance to Law Enforcement Authorities Pursuant to the State of
Emergency Concerning Restaurants and Bars, Public Gatherings, Price Gouging,
the Closing of Certain Businesses, and the Shelter in Place Order

On March 12, 2020, Governor Carney declared a state of emergency to protect the citizens of Delaware from the threat posed by the novel coronavirus. Pursuant to the state of emergency, the Governor has issued six declarations (the “Declarations”).1 The Declarations have the force of law and violating them is a criminal offense.2 This memorandum summarizes what is prohibited and what to do if you encounter people or businesses violating the prohibitions in the Declarations. Read the full guidance.

 

DNREC: COVID-19 Impact on Construction Sites

As we continue to see impacts from COVID-19, we recognize there may be circumstances causing active construction sites to cease activities. If owners and operators of construction sites need to suspend operations, they should institute the following:

  • Owners have responsibilities under the NPDES Special Conditions for Storm Water Discharges Associated with Construction Activities (Construction General Permit) to conduct weekly self-inspections of the construction site and to maintain sediment and stormwater controls in working order.
  • Weekly self-inspections, including documentation of those inspections, should continue until a directive is made that prevents personnel from accessing construction sites.
  • Owners and operators should prepare for a possible long-term shutdown of their construction sites by maintaining all construction site stormwater controls to full working order:
  • Ensure all perimeter controls are in place and functioning. Remove accumulated sediment from behind silt fence and compost filter logs.
  • Excavate accumulated sediment from sediment traps and sediment basins to restore the full storage volume. Excavate accumulated sediment from forebays.
  • Maintain inlet protection devices. Remove accumulated sediment from inlet protection Types IP-2 and IP-3.
  • Empty and cover dumpsters. Securely store all potential sources of pollution in a location where they will not come in contact with stormwater.
  • Once areas of active construction have been suspended, they are likely to remain undisturbed for a period of 14 days or more. Temporary stabilization is critical. All disturbed areas on site should have temporary stabilization applied prior to any site shutdown.

 

Department of Labor

Although DOL offices will be closed to public access during this state of emergency, the department remains operational and offers the ability for Delawareans to file for unemployment benefits online here .

Questions can be answered via email at uiclaims@delaware.gov or reach out via phone at 302-761-8446.

 

NAR UPDATES

New  NAR Hotline is available at 1-800-874-6500 to
connect to a Member Support Representative 

UNEMPLOYEMENT ASSISTANCE FAQs

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) provides relief to families, small businesses, and individuals who are self-employed and independent contractors. A key provision is a temporary “Pandemic Unemployment Assistance” program that extends benefits to those not traditionally eligible, including self-employed individuals. Get a summary and answers to frequently asked questions prepared by NAR here.

 

Putting Members First With the Right Tools, Right Now

In light of the challenges presented by COVID-19, and its impact on the real estate industry, NAR is taking steps to support members through these uncertain times. The Right Tools, Right Now initiative, which was activated once before in 2009, makes new and existing NAR products and services available for FREE or at significant discounts – right now – and is available to REALTORS® and REALTOR® Associations. The program includes products, resources and services from all areas of the Association, including the following:

Read more here.

 

 Special message from Bob Goldberg and Vince Malta

March 24

 Video message from NAR President Vince Malta

 Coronavirus Guidance for REALTORS®

Open House Guidance During COVID-19

Coronavirus Emergency Legislation: What REALTORS® Need to Know

Coronavirus Guidance for REALTOR® Associations

 

Coronavirus Emergency Legislation: What REALTORS® Need to Know

Congress has passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201) providing support to American workers, families, and businesses, including the expansion of paid sick leave and family medical leave. Major Provisions Affecting REALTORS®, Brokers, and Real Estate Associations include the following:

  • Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (section 3102),
  • Payroll Credit for Required Paid Family Leave (section 7003),
  • Tax Credit for Family Leave for Self-Employed (section 7004),
  • Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (section 5102),
  • Payroll Tax Credit for Required Paid Sick Leave (section 7001),
  • Tax Credit for Sick Leave for Self-Employed Individuals (section 7002)
    • Eligible self-employed individuals are able to claim a refundable tax credit equal to 100% of the qualified sick leave equivalent amount for those who must self-isolate, obtain a diagnosis, or comply with a self-isolation recommendation with respect to COVID-19.
    • Eligible self-employed individuals caring for a family member or for a child whose school or place of care has been closed due to COVID-19 receive a credit equal to 67% of a qualified sick leave equivalent amount.
    • The tax credit is refundable and is creditable against income and SE taxes.
    • Eligible individuals are those who would be entitled to receive paid leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act if they were employees.
    • For those self-employed individuals who must self-isolate, obtain a diagnosis, or comply with a self-isolation recommendation, the qualified sick leave equivalent amount is capped at the lesser of $511 per day or the average daily self-employment income for the tax year.
    • The self-employed individual may only take into account those days they are unable to work for qualified reasons under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and they must maintain certain documentation to be prescribed by the Treasury to establish their eligibility for the credit.

Read a summary of the provisions here.

Get a summary of the bill’s impact on REALTORS® here.

REALTORS® Step Up Relief Efforts in Response to Coronavirus

 

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

Congress Clears Coronavirus Rescue Bill Filled with REALTOR® Benefits

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a historic $2.2 trillion COVID-19 rescue package Friday, sending it to President Trump for his signature. The bill contains numerous benefits for REALTORS® that NAR fought hard for during the past three weeks, including unemployment eligibility for the self-employed and independent contractors; unprecedented aid for small businesses; and a delay in business payroll tax payments. NAR has compiled a comprehensive guide to all benefits for REALTORS® and their customers found in this legislation.

 

Face-to-Face Requirements Suspended

Early Saturday morning, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a partial waiver of 24 CFR 203.604, a servicing policy requiring mortgagees to establish in-person contact with borrowers during early default intervention. This suspension was issued in response to public concerns over the spread of COVID-19. Read the waiver.

 

Foreclosures, Evictions Suspended for Next 60 Days (March 18)

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson, in consultation with the Trump Administration and the Coronavirus Task Force, today authorized the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to implement an immediate foreclosure and eviction moratorium for single family homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages for the next 60 days. Read more.

 

USDA Rural Development Agency

Check out the Single-Family Housing Direct Programs Continuity of Operations guidelines here. Rural Development has taken a number of immediate actions to help rural residents, businesses, and communities affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Links to other information from the agency are found on this page.