October 17, 2021

Volume XI, Number 290

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October 15, 2021

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October 14, 2021

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COVID-19: Maine DECD Issues New Statewide Guidance on Real Estate Activities

On April 15, 2020 the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) released new guidance for its previous determination that real estate activities are an “essential business” during the stay-at-home order issued by Governor Mills in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This latest guidance adds new requirements and restrictions to buyers and sellers of all residential properties, and commercial multi-unit properties with more than four units. The guidance does not specifically address other types of real estate activities or other types of commercial real estate properties.  The DECD guidance can be viewed here.

For real estate activities involving commercial multi-unit properties of more than four units, the following requirements are imposed:

  • Showings must be conducted virtually by the listing agent.

  • The listing agent must wear a cloth face covering, foot coverings, and gloves when entering a property.

  • Inspections must be completed by the building inspector only. Building inspectors must wear a cloth face covering, foot coverings, and gloves when entering a property.

For all residential real estate activities, the following requirements are imposed:

  • Agents and buyers must narrow down houses to “a few” to view.

  • An agent must “live stream” the viewing to the potential buyer from the property—the potential buyer may not be present. The agent must wear a cloth face covering and foot coverings when entering a property.

  • A potential buyer may select one house to conduct a walk through, with the approval of the seller.  Both the potential buyer and the agent must wear cloth face coverings, foot coverings, and gloves during the walk-through.

  • The purchase and sale agreement must be executed electronically.

  • Inspections must be completed by the building inspector only. Building inspectors must wear a cloth face covering, foot coverings, and gloves when entering properties.

  • Appraisers must use all efforts to avoid entering a property. If it is necessary to enter, the appraiser must wear a cloth face covering, foot coverings, and gloves.

  • Closing must take place using as many social distancing practices as possible.

City of Portland Extends Stay-at-Home Order and Includes Further Restrictions on Real Estate Activities

In addition to the requirements contained in the DECD guidance, the Portland City Council  voted on April 14, 2020 to extend its own stay-at-home order. In doing so, the city decreed that real estate agency activities shall not be allowed with regard to any occupied residential multifamily properties of more than four units, or with regard to an occupied residential multifamily property of four units or fewer in which the property owner is not a resident. The city’s order notes that all other real estate activities must comply with the DECD guidance outlined above. A copy of the April 14 City Council order is here.

©2021 Pierce Atwood LLP. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume X, Number 107
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About this Author

Rebecca West Greenfield Transactional Commercial Real Estate Attorney Pierce Atwood Portland, ME
Partner

Rebecca Greenfield has a transactional commercial real estate practice involving acquisitions, dispositions, development, leasing, finance, and title and land use analysis. She also has particular expertise in project finance for new and existing real estate developments.

Rebecca has represented both regional real estate developers, educational institutions, lenders and other commercial entities in a wide array of development and lending transactions involving hotels and resort properties, office buildings, campus expansions, residential subdivisions, and other commercial properties...

(207) 791-1246
Elizabeth Frazier Govt Relations Attorney Pierce Atwood Law Firm
Associate

Elizabeth Frazier focuses her practice on government relations, dividing her time between Pierce Atwood’s Portland and Augusta, Maine offices.

A native of Maine, Elizabeth grew up around her family’s small business, working on all aspects of business growth and management. She has an intimate understanding of the realities and requirements of running a business in Maine.

Additionally, she has worked in government and politics throughout her career. In 2008, Elizabeth worked as a grass roots coordinator for Obama for President in New Hampshire. Elizabeth then followed her...

207-791-1155
Peter H. Kenlan Real Estate Attorney Pierce Atwood Portland, ME
Associate

Peter Kenlan’s practice includes all aspects of real estate law.  Drawing on his diverse professional experience, Peter helps clients navigate a broad range of complex real estate transactions.

Before joining Pierce Atwood, Peter served as law clerk to Chief Justice Leigh I. Saufley of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. During law school, Peter was managing editor of the Maine Law Review, a student attorney representing low-income clients in a wide range of legal matters, and the student liaison to the Maine Advisory Committee on Rules of Evidence. He also had internships...

(207) 791-1165
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