COVID-19 Real Estate Disclosure Form for Buyers and Sellers

The residential real estate industry was heavily impacted by the outbreak of COVID-19. While the industry was deemed ‘essential’ during the crisis and permitted to continue in-person operations in many jurisdictions, the disease itself has ushered in a new wave of potential liability claims for agents and brokers who may inadvertently transmit or facilitate the transmission of the disease through in-person activities such as private showings or future open houses.

In response, the New York State Association of Realtors (NYSAR) created an optional ‘COVID-19 Disclosure Form’ for its members to disseminate to buyers and sellers.

The document outlines to prospective buyers or sellers the risks of possible exposure to COVID-19 through real estate activities and provides for the assumption of exposure and all consequences and/or injury which may result from such exposure by permitting access to or accessing a property.

NYSAR recently issued a ‘Phase Two’ COVID-19 Disclosure Form which is also available for download below.

What does the COVID-19 real estate disclosure form say?

The text of the NYSAR COVID-19 real estate disclosure form is as follows:

On January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) designated the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, outbreak as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. On January 31, 2020, the United States Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary declared a public health emergency for the entire United States and on March 7, 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a State disaster emergency for the entire State of New York (the “Emergency”).

By Executive Order, Governor Cuomo has directed that all businesses shall utilize, to the maximum extent possible, any telecommuting or work from home procedures in order to reduce the in-person workforce at any work locations by 100%. Essential businesses or entities providing essential services or functions to an essential business are not subject to the in-person restriction to the limited extent necessary to provide such service or function.

Empire State Development (ESD) has determined that real estate services shall be conducted remotely for all transactions, including appraisals, inspections and other services necessary to complete a transfer of real property; provided that any services and parts therein may be conducted in-person only to the extent legally necessary and in accordance with appropriate social distancing.

It may become necessary in limited circumstances for a real estate licensee, inspector, appraiser or other third party to access the Property. Such access raises the possibility of potential liability resulting from exposure to COVID-19.

By agreeing to permit such parties to enter the Property or by agreeing to enter the property, all parties acknowledge there is an assumption of exposure to COVID-19 and any and all consequences and/or injury which may result from such exposure, including but not limited to, physical and/or psychological injury, pain, suffering, illness, temporary or permanent disability, death or economic loss.

This disclosure will help you to make informed choices about access to the Property during the Emergency. The undersigned hereby acknowledge receipt of this COVID-19 Disclosure Statement.

The undersigned hereby acknowledge receipt of this COVID-19 Disclosure Statement.

[Buyer Name(s) and Signature(s)]
[Seller Name(s) and Signature(s)]

This form was provided by [Name of Licensee] of [Name of Brokerage] a licensed real estate broker.

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What risks is the COVID-19 real estate disclosure designed to protect against?

The COVID-19 disclosure form is intended to educate a buyer and/seller about the risk of exposure to COVID-19 and associated injury/harm as a result of accessing or permitting access to a property.

Consequently, a broker who is named in a lawsuit alleging exposure to Coronavirus could utilize the disclosure form to demonstrate that the buyer or seller was aware of the risks and assumed such risks prior to engaging in said real estate activity.

The optional COVID-19 real estate disclosure form alerts buyers and sellers to the risks of COVID-19 exposure by accessing or allowing access to a property.

It’s important to keep in mind that there is no guarantee that the use of this disclosure form will indemnify a broker or agent who facilitates the transmission of COVID-19 from legal exposure and liability.

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Is the COVID-19 disclosure form required?

No. Use of the COVID-19 real estate disclosure form by a licensee is completely optional. Nor is a buyer and/or seller required to sign the disclosure form prior to accessing or permitting access to a property.

You can download a brand agnostic, PDF version of the COVID-19 Real Estate Disclosure Form for New York here. The buyer and the seller should ideally sign it, or otherwise at least be presented the form over email.

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Last Updated: 4/27/2020
Disclosure: Hauseit® and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal, financial or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal, financial or accounting advice. No representation, guarantee or warranty of any kind is made regarding the completeness or accuracy of information provided. Hauseit LLC is a Licensed Real Estate Broker, licensed to do business in New York under license number 10991232340. Principal Office: 148 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10013.

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