Did You Know… … that Maryland residents can travel to and from an Essential Business in order to conduct a real estate settlement?
March 30, 2020
As you may know, the outbreak of COVID-19 has resulted in the issuance of several Executive Orders by Governor Hogan. Today, Governor Hogan issued a stay-at-home order (Executive Order 20-03-30-01) that requires, among other things, Non-Essential Businesses to remain closed to the general public and Maryland residents to stay in their homes or places of residence except to conduct or participate in Essential Activities, which includes obtaining necessary supplies or services for one’s self or household.
Shulman Rogers is considered an Essential Business, and as such, our office remains open and we will continue to conduct real estate settlements. All staff that are not essential to the completion of real estate closings are working from home, to limit the number of individuals in our office space. Our office is closed to the public, except for parties to real estate settlements appearing to sign documents that require wet-ink signatures and acknowledgment by a notary.
Maryland’s Office of Legal Counsel has indicated that persons leaving their homes to go to and from an Essential Business is permissible under the Governor’s Order issued March 30, 2020. Specifically, Section II.b.i. of the Order defines Essential Activities as “obtaining necessary supplies or services for one’s self or household.” According to the Office of Legal Counsel, a real estate closing is an essential activity for one’s self or household, and is a permissible reason to leave one’s home or residence.
Accordingly, our office remains open for parties to real estate settlements appearing to sign documents that require wet-ink signatures and acknowledgment by a notary.
We will be working with the vendor, Notarize, to facilitate closings by Remote Online Notary (“RON”). Borrowers/Buyers should confirm that their lenders will permit loan documents to be signed electronically via RON. If the lender will not permit the Note and Deed of Trust to be signed electronically, then your closing cannot be completed via RON, and an in-person signing appointment will be necessary. We continue to monitor developments in the implementation of RON.
This publication is for informational purposes and does not contain or convey legal advice. The information herein should not be used or relied upon in regard to any particular facts or circumstances without first consulting a lawyer.