At the Law Office of David R. Rocheford, Jr., P.C. we are committed to keeping our clients, customers and business partners updated about steps we are taking concerning the coronavirus.
We are monitoring the situation closely and following the guidance from relevant authorities, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and various US state and local government entities. It is our intent to continue to provide outstanding and quality closing and settlement services throughout this changing period.
We have confirmed with our critical vendors that they will remain available to support our daily operations. Our software, IT, office supply, express delivery, and business banking partners, among others, have all committed at this point to remain in operation providing their services.
What we are doing for our customers, clients and business partners to facilitate closings:
We are capable of filing documents electronically with every available Massachusetts and New Hampshire Registry of Deeds. As long as the Registries continue to accept electronic recordings we will use this system. There are some circumstances where electronic recording is not an option, such as in the case of recording necessary plans, and most Registered Land documents.
We have arranged with the top three national title insurers to temporarily have title insurance coverage allowed in the event recording becomes unavailable or delayed. Gap insurance allows a closing to occur, funds to change hands, and lender, seller, and buyer to be protected against any intervening liens or encumbrances that may arise during a period from closing to recording. Contact one of our attorneys for more detailed information on gap coverage.
Municipal Office Closures
Some municipal offices may not be able to provide Municipal Lien Certificates or real estate tax information. We will continue to monitor municipal office closures and work with tax collector and assessor offices to obtain necessary tax information and will be as accommodating as possible to ensure that we have the information needed for closing. In some circumstances a holdback of proceeds may be an option to afford the closing to proceed.
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector Inspections
Some municipal fire departments have temporarily cut non-emergency services and are not scheduling statutorily required inspections. Additional agreements and arrangements may need to be entered into so that sellers continue to bear the expense of inspections after closing, along with buyer releases of liability. In some circumstances a holdback of proceeds may be an option to afford the closing to proceed. In any case we will work with parties on practical and acceptable solutions.
Although we are able to conduct closings offsite (remotely), the need to have certain documents notarized in person cannot be changed. We will remain accommodating to buyers, borrowers and sellers and can arrange to provide in person notary services remotely and during off regular business hours.
Purchase and Sale Agreements
We are including a clause or addendum providing for buyer, seller, and lender protection related to any COVID-19 delays. It will be prudent to have “COVID-19 language” used in all real estate contracts for the time being. Contact our attorneys for suggested language.
Mandatory Office Closure
In the event local and national authorities compel mandatory office closure, we are prepared to comply and are capable of providing certain services remotely. Even if this means that closings and settlements cease for a time, we will still continue to handle contracts and produce title and any other documents that are not affected by a more comprehensive shutdown. Of course, during this time, our attorneys and staff will be available to discuss pending transactions with all clients.
What we are doing at our office:
We’re focused on keeping our employees and guests safe. Here are some measure we are taking:
Parties arriving to a Closing
Guests are encouraged to use hand sanitizer and/or wash hands upon arrival at our office.
Any guest who exhibits symptoms that may be like coronavirus (fever, cough, shortness of breath, etc.) must notify staff upon arrival and we will escort out of common areas into a private closing room.
After each closing, the chairs, table and door handle will be wiped down with disinfecting wipes or bleach solution.
Closing Table Items
Remove pens, paper, extra reading glasses and other items normally found on the closing tables. Distribute new pens to each closing participant and not re-used.
All reading materials, ceramic mugs and other re-usable items have been removed.
Provide hand sanitizer in closing spaces. If none is available, encourage employees and visitors to wash their hands before and after any closing or other meeting.
General Environmental Cleaning
Cleaning personnel are using appropriate germ-killing solutions when cleaning office areas after-hours.
When possible, stay approximately six feet from others.
If you have specific questions or concerns that have not been outlined here, please do not hesitate to contact me.
David R. Rocheford, Jr., Esq.
Direct Office: 978-728-5104