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Guide to Covid-19


4/1/2020 

PMAR and its legal counsel have developed the following three forms intended to address questions and concerns arising from the COVID-19 crisis and Governor Brown’s Executive Order 20-12 requiring Oregonians stay at home. For those whose work is not suitable to telecommuting, etc., the Order says that businesses must establish a written policy around the required 6-foot social distancing rules. The failure to do so could result in closure of the business.
PMAR cannot dictate how its members choose to comply with the Order. However, for those members who need to conduct portions of their business outside the home (e.g. listing, marketing, preparing, and showing properties for sale), PMAR has prepared these forms for optional use: (a) The Policy is for brokerage use; (b) The Advisory is for agent use to give to clients; and (c) The sample screening questions are provided for brokers or their sellers when vetting who will be permitted to enter the home.
The forms are not provided as legal advice, and each company choosing to use them should have the decision approved by their own counsel.
COVID-19 Brokerage Company Policy
COVID-19 Homeowner Advisory
COVID-19 Screening Questionnaire


3/23/2020, 1:00pm – Governor Issues ‘Stay Home, Save Lives’ Executive Order


Governor Kate Brown today issued Executive Order 20-12, directing everyone in Oregon to stay at home to the maximum extent possible and adding to the list of businesses that will be temporarily closed to stem the spread of COVID-19 in Oregon.

The Governor’s Order Does Not Close Real Estate Businesses But Does Implement Social Distancing Requirements
The safety and health of not only our members but all Oregonians is our first priority. OAR continues to support the real estate industry and is joining NAR and many other states by advocating for the opportunity for real estate transactions to continue within the parameters of all CDC recommendations. If social distancing requirements and additional sanitizing criteria cannot be met, the activities cannot be conducted.

Effective March 25, 2020 All Businesses MUST:
·     Facilitate telework and work-at-home by employees, to the maximum extent possible. Work in offices is prohibited when telework and work-at-home options are available for the particular position duty and subject to the availability of teleworking equipment and network adequacy.
·     Where teleworking and work-at-home options are not available, businesses must designate an employee or officer to establish, implement and enforce social distancing policies, consistent with guidance from the Oregon Health Authority.  Such policies must also address how the business will maintain social distancing protocols for business-critical visitors.
·     Businesses that do not comply with these provisions will be closed until they demonstrate compliance.

The order does close certain businesses (effective March 24 at 12:01am) including:
·     Shopping: Outdoor and indoor malls and retail complexes, although individual types of businesses not subject to the measures may stay open.
·     Fitness: Gyms, sports and fitness centers, health clubs, and exercise studios
·     Grooming: Barbershops, beauty and nail salons, and non-medical wellness spas
·     Entertainment: Theaters, amusement parks, arcades, bowling alleys, and pool halls

The order also establishes additional restrictions on individual gatherings:
·     All non-essential social and recreational gatherings of individuals are prohibited immediately, regardless of size, if a distance of at least six feet between individuals cannot be maintained. Gatherings of members of the same residential household are permitted.
·     Failure to comply with the individual restrictions will be considered an immediate danger to public health and subject to a Class C misdemeanor

The order also closes state government office buildings to the public, to the extent possible. Services will be provided by phone and, when only possible in person, strict social distancing guidelines will be implemented. The order lays out additional restrictions and guidelines for child care facilities and outdoor recreation facilities.

___________________________________________________________________

3/23/2020 – PMAR, OAR and NAR are working to ensure that the real estate industry is considered essential under any emergency declaration that restrict business operations.

PMAR has signed on to a significant business coalition letter last Friday specifically requesting that “essential business” include the ability to safely conduct real estate within our region and state.  The letter was forwarded to the state and offices of each mayor within the metropolitan region.

OAR has been in constant communication with state and local leaders to communicate our industry’s critical needs, provide input on response policies under consideration, and help the members navigate the large amount of government orders adopted over the last week. They have also submitted a letter to Governor Brown urging her to exempt real estate services from any emergency orders issued in Oregon.

NAR has been responding to a flurry of legislative activity aimed at providing economic relief from COVID-19. They are committed to ensuring that lawmakers continue to take into consideration the real estate industry, including independent contractors and small business owners. NAR is also working with state associations, many of whom are reaching out to their Governors to request that certain real estate services be deemed “essential services” during emergency declarations.

We know the shelter in place order has caused tremendous anxiety within the industry and are doing our best to keep members informed. Information is being updated continuously and you can find the latest updates at the links below.

https://govsite-assets.s3.amazonaws.com/jkAULYKcSh6DoDF8wBM0_EO%2020-12.pdf
https://www.nar.realtor/political-advocacy/nars-advocacy-work-towards-covid-19-relief
https://oregonrealtors.org/know/oar-covid-updates/

The Portland Metropolitan Association of REALTORS® will be closing our office due to the COVID-19 pandemic effective Monday, March 23, 2020.
Staff will be working remotely so that we can still provide service to our members. We have outlined important information regarding how to contact us below:
Phones
Staff will still be available via their direct lines listed here. Please note, our office hours will remain the same, 8:00am-5:00pm.
Email
Because we will all be working remotely, email is the preferred communication method. Click here for a staff directory with primary functions for each staff member and their email address.

Notice from RMLS™ 

ALL RMLS™ Offices to be Closed As of Monday, March 23 and Open House/Broker Tour Modules Have Been Removed

We were ready for Governor Kate Brown’s ‘Stay at Home’ Order announced on the evening of March 20, 2020. We have removed our Open House and Broker Tour Modules from RMLSweb. Please understand that it is a core tenant of RMLS™ to never come between a Realtor® and their clients. We fully recognize the gravity of this situation and feel that this choice MUST be made for public health and the safety of our subscribers.

Moreover, ALL RMLS™ offices will be CLOSED starting on Monday, March 23, 2020. Help Desk will remain open and staff will still be available to answer emails and take phone calls. As soon as local, county, and state leaders deem it safe for the public to co-mingle again, we will open our doors and re-enable the Open House and Broker Tour modules.

Lane County and Douglas County Broker Tours Canceled Due to the public health threat from COVID-19 the Lane County and Douglas County Broker Tours are cancelled for the foreseeable future. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your understanding. Stay healthy and stay tuned for more information.

Are you licensed in both Oregon and Washington? The Covid-19 guidelines differ for each state so make sure you are up-to-date. See the Washington Realtors® resource guide for more information here.

Archived Updates

3/23/2020 – PMAR, OAR and NAR are working to ensure that the real estate industry is considered essential under any emergency declaration that restrict business operations.

PMAR has signed on to a significant business coalition letter last Friday specifically requesting that “essential business” include the ability to safely conduct real estate within our region and state.  The letter was forwarded to the state and offices of each mayor within the metropolitan region.

OAR has been in constant communication with state and local leaders to communicate our industry’s critical needs, provide input on response policies under consideration, and help the members navigate the large amount of government orders adopted over the last week. They have also submitted a letter to Governor Brown urging her to exempt real estate services from any emergency orders issued in Oregon.

NAR has been responding to a flurry of legislative activity aimed at providing economic relief from COVID-19. They are committed to ensuring that lawmakers continue to take into consideration the real estate industry, including independent contractors and small business owners. NAR is also working with state associations, many of whom are reaching out to their Governors to request that certain real estate services be deemed “essential services” during emergency declarations.

We know the shelter in place order has caused tremendous anxiety within the industry and are doing our best to keep members informed. Information is being updated continuously and you can find the latest updates at the links below.

https://govsite-assets.s3.amazonaws.com/jkAULYKcSh6DoDF8wBM0_EO%2020-12.pdf
https://www.nar.realtor/political-advocacy/nars-advocacy-work-towards-covid-19-relief
https://oregonrealtors.org/know/oar-covid-updates/

COVID-19 and Real Estate in the Portland Metropolitan Area
3/18/2020

As you know, the federal government has classified the COVID-19 outbreak as a global pandemic.  On March 15, 2020 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued the following:

 “The CDC…recommends that for the next 8 weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States.  Events of any size should only be continued if they can be carried out with adherence to guidelines for protecting vulnerable populations, hand hygiene, and social distancing…This recommendation is made in an attempt to reduce introduction of the virus into new communities and to slow the spread of infection in communities already affected by the virus.  This recommendation is not intended to supersede the advice of local public health officials.”

Additionally, the Oregon Governor’s Office is now requesting no social gatherings of over 25 people.  We encourage all our members to adhere to the social distancing guidelines being issued by the State of Oregon. They are encouraging as many people as possible to work remotely.  We hope our larger real estate offices will take this under advisement.  Please also take this into consideration with respect to weekly office meetings. 

We wanted to put together this guide to help provide information for our members and their clients.  This guide is not, however, intended to convey legal advice and the information is subject to change, pending additional governmental advisories or mandates that may be issued.

Where do I get information?
The Portland Metropolitan Association of REALTORS® (PMAR) has been fielding calls for information on COVID-19.  We recommend you check the local department of health online, the State of Oregon as well as the CDC for information on this outbreak and any steps that you should take and to keep track of the number of cases in your area.  For your convenience, you can access the CDC’s flyers and fact sheets by clicking HERE.

What do I do if my clients do not want people coming through their home with the outbreak?
If your client does not want other members or other consumers coming through their home, that is their decision.  This is an opportunity for you to discuss the status of their listing and whether or not they wish to withdraw the listing until they are comfortable with foot traffic.

Should we hold open houses?
The decision to hold an open house is between the listing broker and the client, however, due to the nature of an open house you would not have any advance notice of how many potential buyers would come through a home during that time, and there is no guarantee that people could stay within the safe distance of 6ft.  These are all considerations that should be taken into account when deciding whether to hold an open house.  You should be complying with the state’s social distancing guidelines.  While maybe not ideal for some clients, private showings is one way to limit larger groups coming through homes.

What steps can I or my client take for open houses or private showings to help potentially prevent spread?
There are several steps that can be taken to help potentially prevent the spread of the virus.  Please see the below list of recommendations:

  1. REALTORS® and Clients should wash their hands prior to touring a home.
  2. If you or your clients have hand sanitizer, you should bring it with you to use before and after you enter each home.
  3. While real estate is a community and most of us all know each other, do not hug, kiss or shake hands.
  4. If you or your clients are sick, do NOT go out and view homes. 
  5. If you are the listing agent and your clients are sick and have been in the home, do NOT show the home.
  6. If you are the listing agent, we recommend opening all interior doors in the home prior to showings and asking everyone who is viewing the home to leave the interior doors open to avoid having to touch door handles.
  7. We recommend wiping down all door handles and other high touch point areas with Clorox or disinfecting wipes before and after showings.
  8. If you are a buyer’s representative, please make sure you fully tour the property with your clients and ask them not to touch things to avoid any potential transfers.
  9. We do not recommend offering food and drinks at an open house.

While we understand these are not the most comfortable conversations to have, please keep in mind this is to protect consumers and our members.  Some of our consumers and members can be categorized in the more vulnerable population categories and we need to work together to help protect each other and the public here in the Portland metro area.

Where can I get additional information on the Coronavirus and Real Estate?
Here is a list of a few articles from NAR to help you:

Sellers Adopt Showing Procedures to Minimize Coronavirus Spread
Coronavirus: A Guide for REALTORS®
Brokerage Touts Virtual Tours Amid Coronavirus Concerns 

What do I do if I feel like someone is not taking precautions when showing property?
PMAR is here to provide tips based on information provided by the federal, state and local authorities, but we are not able to field complaints regarding this behavior.  If you feel there is an issue, you should be discussing it with the other broker, and if that is not sufficient to solve the issue, both your managing broker and the managing broker of the other broker should get involved to come to a resolution.

What is PMAR going to do with respect to CE classes & meetings?
All in-person meetings and classes are cancelled for the next four weeks.  Meetings will be held via conference call or webinar as needed.

Is the PMAR Office going to remain open?
The Portland Metropolitan Association of REALTORS® will be closing our office due to the COVID-19 pandemic effective Monday, March 23, 2020.
Staff will be working remotely so that we can still provide service to our members. UPDATED 3/23/2020

The information in this document is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal advice.  If readers want independent legal advice, they should contact the attorney of their choice.

Sincerely,

PMAR CEO Katherine Querin
503-228-6595
www.pmar.org