Federal guidelines used by the states has been very silent regarding “real estate activities” except for one sentence that stated that those that provide services to the homeless population can still operate. Being a property management company which does provide housing for homeless individuals and families that are on voucher programs meeting our criteria and qualifications; has been my justification for having my office open during our normal business hours. Contact with the public is still minimal, abiding by the guidelines set for number of people gathering together, etc. Our office also continues to respond to our residents requests for service calls with plumbing, pest control, etc. The following news article below confirms that “Real Estate” IS an essential service.
Real Estate Now Listed as an Essential Service in March 28, 2020 Federal List of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers
Today, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) updated its list of essential services during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis and expressly included residential real estate. Since Governor Newsom’s March 4, 2020 order incorporates this list, the order now includes residential and commercial real estate, including settlement services, as essential services in California. However, if a city or county has an order with a more restrictive standard regarding what qualifies as an essential service, or more restrictions on activities, those guidelines will still govern the activities of a licensee. You can read the full CISA memorandum here.
Notwithstanding this new development, all real estate licensees must take into account the health and safety of their clients and fellow licensees, and follow the existing protocols for protecting against the spread of COVID-19. If such health safeguards and protocols are not followed, the rule for the state could easily change to stop or restrict all real estate activity. To that end, in conformity with current health guidelines, real estate licensees should follow all CDC and local health mandates.
1. No open houses should be held.
2. Showings should be done virtually, if at all possible.
An updated FAQ and more information on recommended best practices will be posted on the car.org/coronavirus website as soon as practicable. March 28, 2020
Norbert G. Huston, Broker/Realtor