By: Matthew L. Troiani, Esq.
Vice President of Professional Development & Chief Counsel
The Board of Directors of the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors® recently approved the use of SentriLock® one-day codes in the NVAR geographic footprint. This change in the Regional Rules & Regulations for the SentriLock® Lockbox System (the “Rules”) was approved for the benefit of the membership, to provide consistency across the region, and because the original liability and security reasons for prohibiting the use of one-day codes have been addressed.
Realtors® throughout Northern Virginia practice real estate where the business takes them. This may require the use of SentriLock cards and lockboxes in jurisdictions covered by other regional associations. In order to make it easier for members to use SentriLock features properly and effectively, it makes sense for the standards and use to be consistent across all associations governed by the Rules. Members should not have to remember whether the property is located in the footprint of NVAR, or the Prince William, Dulles, Fredericksburg, Greater Piedmont or Blue Ridge associations in order to determine what types of codes they can use to provide access to a property. One standard for all associations in the region will make it easier for our members to do business and to comply with the Rules.
Furthermore, the original reasons for not allowing one-day codes are no longer relevant. NVAR and its members have a decade of experience with SentriLock features, including using the cards and lockboxes in the territory of associations that already permitted one-day codes. The NVAR listing agreements have been updated to provide members protection from liability resulting from parties accessing property. The listing agreements specifically require brokerage compliance with the Rules, and sellers agree to release the brokerages from any liability for damage to property during the listing period. The Rules have been established and revised over the years to require that precautions and security measures be taken before issuing one-day codes. These measures include obtaining and verifying the names and licenses of real estate licensees, contractors and inspectors before issuing a one-day code. Finally, SentriLock has updated and upgraded the technological features of the lockboxes, cards and applications to help prevent misuse of one-day codes by making it easier to track who is accessing the property, when the property was accessed, and for how long.
There are always risks associated with parties accessing property that does not belong to them. However, these risks are mitigated by technology, consistent enforcement, changes in the Rules, and protection in the brokerage agreements. The NVAR Board of Directors determined that the potential risks are outweighed by the benefits to members resulting from consistency in the Rules across the region and the convenience of one-day codes.
Click here for One-Day Code instructions.
Click here for more lockbox info.
For questions please visit NVAR.com/LegalHotline.