Title companies are, by definition, an “Essential Business.” We are open for business, processing and conducting closings. At Republic Title, we are offering many low-contact and no-contact closing options to help our customers continue to close real estate transactions, while also supporting the health of our customers, our employees and the communities in which we operate, including Remote Online Notarization, drive-up signings and regular mail and expedited delivery services. We have taken a number of other steps as well, including:
- Conducting most closings and/or meetings by appointment only
- Asking that non-essential parties refrain from attending closings and/or meetings
- Making hand sanitizer available in our branch offices
- Wiping down our closing room tables and chairs after each closing
- Providing new pens for each signing and encouraging clients to keep the pens once the closing is completed
- Providing separate closing rooms, if available
- Promoting best practices for personal hygiene and workplace cleanliness to employees
- Restricting non-essential travel as well as employee attendance at industry conferences and events
- Directing any employee with symptoms of illness to stay home.
Question: Is there a termination provision in the TREC 1-4 contract that covers the COVID-19 pandemic?
Answer: No. There is not a provision that covers a pandemic. We received a few inquiries asking about paragraph 14 of the TREC 1-4 contract and if that paragraph covers the current pandemic situation, and the answer is no – paragraph 14 contemplates storm or fire related damage to the property, not a pandemic. If a client has any questions as to what constitutes a casualty loss, they should speak to their own attorney.
Question: There is now a COVID-19 Addendum issued by TXR, can you give us the highlights?
Answer: In short, the COVID-19 Addendum outlines certain contingency plans to either extend the closing date or terminate the contract. If it appears that the closing date is not feasible because of voluntary or mandatory quarantine or there is a closure, the parties can extend the closing date for a period of 30 days.
Question: Can the COVID-19 Addendum be attached to existing contract or does it only apply to new contracts?
Answer: The Covid-19 Addendum can be added to an existing contract and to a new contract. A party, however, cannot unilaterally add the amendment, both parties have to agree and execute the addendum.
Question: Does the 30 day extension for closing in the COVID-19 Addendum relate to other deadlines in the contract?
Answer: No, the other critical dates are still in effect unless amended by the parties. The COVID-19 Addendum only changes the closing date in paragraph 9 of the Contract.
Question: Assuming the parties have a COVID-19 Addendum as part of the contract, what if the contract also contains a third-party financing addendum and the buyer is past the approval period in paragraph 2A and the buyer loses their job – can the buyer still terminate and receive the earnest money?
Answer: Yes, if the buyer’s loss of income is due to COVID-19 related issues, then either party may terminate and the earnest money will be refunded to the buyer.
Question: What if the seller or someone in the seller’s family has tested positive for COVID-19, do they need to disclose?
Answer: Yes. Section 9 of the Seller’s Disclosure Notice asks if the seller is aware of “any condition on the property which materially affects the health or safety of an individual.” Testing positive for COVID-19 is most certainly a condition on the property because of the contagiousness of the virus and the fact that it can live on surfaces in the property which can materially affect the health of an individual.
Question: Can the buyer demand that the seller deep clean and sanitize the house?
Answer: TREC 1-4 contract paragraph 7 d2 states, “Buyer accepts the Property As Is provided Seller, at Seller’s expense, shall complete the following specific repairs and treatments: __________.” This provides a buyer the opportunity to make a demand on the seller to deep clean and sanitize the house.
This video is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing contained in this video should be considered as the rendering of legal advice for specific cases, and viewers are responsible for obtaining such advice from their own legal counsel.