Government Offices

Fire Departments Refusing to Inspect Smoke Detectors

Updated  March 20, 2020

  • As a result of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Governor Baker has issued an executive order allowing smoke detector and carbon monoxide alarm certificate inspections as required under Sections 26F and 26F½ of Chapter 148 of the General Laws to be deferred so long as: 

    • The Parties to the sale or transfer have agreed in writing that the buyer assumes responsibility for equipping the property with approved smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms.

    • The buyer agrees as a condition of taking title to equip the property with approved smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms immediately upon taking title.

    • An inspection as otherwise required under sections 26F and 26F½ occurs no more than 90 days after the state of emergency is lifted.
       

  • MAR has drafted language that you may use to satisfy the conditions of this executive order.

    The ability to continue to engage in residential real estate transactions is critical to the well-being of our members and the Commonwealth as a whole. Thank you to our industry partners for their efforts in securing this important inspection deferral. Click here to view the letter sent to Governor Baker requesting the deferral and here to view the signed executive order.

Water Meter Readings

Updated March 19, 2020

  • The process for obtaining final water meter readings varies by towns. We have not yet heard of towns being unable or refusing to provide these reports, but foresee that it could potentially become a problem in the future should the number of active staffers continue to shrink. If you are experiencing challenges obtaining water meter readings from your town, we recommend reaching out to your local association.  

Title V Reports

Updated March 19, 2020

  • At this time we have not heard of transactions being disrupted due to problems securing Title V inspections.  

  • Only MassDEP-approved individuals can conduct system inspections. The New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission maintains lists of approved system inspectors. 

Municipal Lien Certificates

Updated March 19, 2020

  • Certificates are issued by each individual city or town. Be sure to contact the municipality to make sure that the certificate will be ready for closing.  

Certificates of Occupancy

Updated March 19, 2020

  • The state building code requires a building official to inspect and issue a certificate for every new building before they can be used or occupied. We have heard of towns limiting building inspectors to emergency work only and anticipate that more towns may follow suit.

  • If you are experiencing challenges obtaining certificate of occupancy or open permits from your town, we recommend reaching out to your local association. 

Review of Properties' Open Permits

Updated March 19, 2020

 

  • The state building code requires the issuance of permits for the erection, alteration, demolition, and moving of buildings and structures. These are handled by municipalities. We have not yet heard of towns being unable or refusing to provide this information on open permits, but foresee that it could potentially become a problem in the future should the number of active staffers continue to shrink.

  • If you are experiencing challenges obtaining information on open permits from your town, we recommend reaching out to your local association. 

Gap Insurance

Updated March 19, 2020

 

  • Because of concerns over coronavirus and potential limits on the ability to timely record documents, some insurance companies are authorizing the issuance of loan and owner title insurance policies that cover any gap between the closing and recording.

  • MAR has no position on the need for or efficacy of Gap Insurance but encourage you to discuss the issue with your clients and attorney. 

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