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MICHIGAN REALTORS® FAIR HOUSING CHECKLIST
MR is pleased to present the “Fair Housing Checklist.” Some years ago, Michigan Realtors® worked with the wonderful people at the Fair Housing Center of West Michigan to develop a “Fair Housing Checklist” that could be easily implemented within a brokerage office. While we’ve promoted use of this checklist in the past, there is no better time, as we seek to address systemic racism and instances of unconscious bias in our society, to reintroduce this concept to our membership. This checklist is a valuable tool for brokerages to feature because it guards against fair housing abuse and also drives home the concept of exceptional and consistent customer and client service. Please click below for a copy,
FAIR HOUSING DECLARATION
I agree to:
- Provide equal professional service without regard to the race, color, religion, gender (sex), disability (handicap), familial status, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity of any prospective client, customer, or of the residents of any community.
- Keep informed about fair housing law and practices, improving my clients’ and customers’ opportunities and my business.
- Develop advertising that indicates that everyone is welcome and no one is excluded;, expanding my client’s and customer’s opportunities to see, buy, or lease property.
- Inform my clients and customers about their rights and responsibilities under the fair housing laws by providing brochures and other information.
- Document my efforts to provide professional service, which will assist me in becoming a more responsive and successful REALTOR®.
- Refuse to tolerate non-compliance.
- Learn about those who are different from me, and celebrate those differences.
- Take a positive approach to fair housing practices and aspire to follow the spirit as well as the letter of the law.
- Develop and implement fair housing practices for my firm to carry out the spirit of this declaration.
Source: Michigan REALTOR® (MR) & National Association of REALTORS® (NAR)
The Newly Issued Public Health Orders and How They Impact Your Business
As Realtors® are well aware, on Friday, October 2nd, the Michigan Supreme Court held that Governor Whitmer did not have the authority to issue the Covid Executive Orders without legislative approval. Attorney General Dana Nessel has said that she will not enforce the Governor’s Executive Orders but has stated that other enforcement agencies are free to make their own decisions.
MIOSHA has announced it will continue to enforce COVID-19 precautions under the agency's “general duty” clause which requires an employer to provide a workplace that is free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to an employee. Both the State Department of Health and Human Services (“DHHS”) and County health departments have statutory authority to prohibit the gathering of people and to “establish procedures to be followed” during an epidemic so as “insure continuation of public health services and enforcement of health laws.” Under this authority, a number of Michigan counties, including Oakland, Wayne and Ingham counties, have issued their own COVID orders. DHHS has issued its own order regulating “gatherings” which it has defined to mean “any (non incidental) occurrence where two or more persons from more than one household are present in a shared space.” If there is a “gathering,” the order applies wherever the gathering occurs (i.e., whether in a public space or at a private residence).
A summary of the general limitations under that order is as follows:
Masks are required unless gathering is occurring at someone’s residence, where masks are recommended. In all cases, event organizers are required to ensure 6 feet of distance between persons who are not members of the same household. Establishments open to the public must post signs advising of mask requirement and instructing persons who are sick not to enter. The order lists exemptions from mask requirements and says businesses must inquire if person enters without a mask (but may rely on verbal representation that the person is exempt from the mask wearing requirement).
If a gathering is indoors:
- Up to 10 people are permitted without capacity limitation. Masks are recommended if the event occurs at a residence; required if not.
- Between 10 and 500 people – where there is “fixed seating,” limit is 20% of seating capacity (25% in Region 6); otherwise 20 persons per 1,000 square feet (25 in Region 6).
- Gatherings of more than 500 people indoors is prohibited regardless of the size of facility.
If a gathering is outdoors:
- Up to 100 people are permitted without capacity limitation. Masks are recommended if the event is at a residence; otherwise required.
- Between 100-1000 people – where there is “fixed seating,” limit is 30% of capacity; otherwise 30 persons per 1,000 square feet.
- Gatherings of more than 1,000 people is prohibited.
Since the occupancy limitations outlined above apply to residences as well as public spaces, it would appear that the DHHS order will apply to showings and open houses. Keep in mind that under the new order, it is the responsibility of the event organizer to enforce the 6-foot social distancing requirement.
In addition, we continue to encourage Realtors® throughout the State to follow the best practices as outlined in MR’s showing addendums:
Recommended Practices for Sellers Permitting Showings and/or Open Houses
- If at all possible, Sellers should not be present during showings or open houses.
- Prior to any scheduled showing or open house, Sellers should turn on all lights and leave interior doors, drapes and blinds open. This will ensure that anyone entering the home will not need to touch light switches/doorknobs.
- Prior to and after any showing or open house, Sellers should clean and disinfect all frequently touched surfaces, such as doorknobs, handles, light switches and countertops.
Recommended Practices for Buyers During Showings
- Buyers attending showings/visits should meet their agents at the property and wait in their car for the agent to arrive.
- Buyers should not bring anyone to the showing who does not need to view the property. All adults attending the showing should sign a Showing Certification and Release.
- Buyers should not touch any surfaces in the property. Buyers should not turn off lights or close interior doors. They should not share phones, pens, tablets etc. with anyone else attending the showing.
- Buyers are encouraged to wear gloves and masks while viewing a home. Buyers should use hand sanitizer immediately prior to entering the home and upon exiting prior to getting into their car.
- Buyers should minimize the time physically present at a home.
We are likely to hear more from DHHS, MIOSHA and other state agencies as well as county health departments across the State. And, of course, as pointed out in the Court’s decision, the Legislature and the Governor have the authority to work together to enact legislation to address COVID concerns. We will continue to monitor the situation and keep Realtors® apprised of developments going forward.
Source: Michigan REALTORS®
Home sales continue to surge with buyers seeking safe havens and record-low mortgage rates. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 positivity rate is also rapidly increasing in many states, making in-person showings risky. Since May, the National Association of REALTORS® has been working with researchers at Engagious to track buyer and seller attitudes during the pandemic. The research shows that buyers and sellers are increasingly comfortable engaging in the real estate market, but they still have safety concerns; you build trust when you can explain what you’re doing to minimize in-person contact and ensure listings are safe and sanitized.
Source: NAR REALTOR® Magazine
National Association of REALTORS® (NAR)
Code of Ethics Training Requirement
Current Cycle: Jan 1, 2019 through Dec 31, 2021
NAR's Board of Directors recently approved a change to the Code of Ethics training requirement, extending it from every two years to every three ears. This extends the current cycle deadline from Dec. 31, 2020, to Dec. 31, 2021.
REALTORS® are required to complete ethics training of not less than 2 hours, 30 minutes of instructional time. The training must meet specific learning objectives and criteria established by the National Association of REALTORS®.
Failure to complete the required periodic ethics training shall be considered a violation of a membership duty which will result in suspension of membership for not less than thirty (30) days. On March 1, 2022, the membership of a member who is still suspended as of that date will be automatically terminated.
The deadline is December 31, 2021 to fulfill this requirement.
The course is available on NAR’s website (www.nar.realtor) for no charge. Go to their website and look for Code of Ethics training.
If you have questions on whether you have fulfilled the Code of Ethics requirement, please feel free to email DBirkner@SEBrealtors.com
You can now check your Code of Ethics training status, choose your preferred COE training format (online or in person), and go directly to the training options available to you with this new training selection tool.
Source: National Association of REALTORS® (NAR)
Legal Lines - Question of the Month
QUESTION: My buyer’s lender has selected an appraiser who I believe is geographically incompetent. I am afraid the home won’t appraise and my client’s loan will be denied. Can I ask my client’s lender to select another appraiser who is more familiar with the area?
ANSWER: No. Federal law prohibits real estate licensees from being involved in the selection of an appraiser for any transaction in which the licensee will receive a commission.
Source: Michigan REALTORS® (MR)
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Southeastern Border Association of REALTORS®
Shannon Harner, RCE, e-PRO, CEO/Association Executive
Donna Birkner, e-PRO, Downriver Office Manager
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Jessica Lapp, e-PRO, Membership & Administrative Manager
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