Week of April 27th
Notes from the Chairman: Dear GJARA Brokers,
Happy Tuesday! As I’m sure you are aware, we are now in the “Safer‐at‐Home” Orders from Governor Polis. In an effort to keep everyone informed, I hope this basic guideline helps you.
Please note: this is not legal advice or guidance. You MUST follow all direction from your Employing Broker and legal counsel. At GJARA, we are not able to provide that to individual broker associates, employing brokers, or brokerage firms.
Guidelines during Safer‐At‐Home, starting April 27, 2020:
- Read all emails from DORA and CAR
- Watch all videos from CAR and Scott Peterson
- Read the entire Safer‐at‐Home order, paying special attention to Section 2E and Appendix B.
There may be other sections that apply to you. Familiarize yourself with all applicable sections.
- Employing Brokers:
- Create COVID office policy addendum with showing guidelines for your Broker Associates to follow when in the field
- Consider creating showing instructions for outside Buyer brokers to follow while showing your listings
- Follow all instructions in Appendix B in what you are required to provide to employees, regardless of the fact that Broker Associates are independent contractors
My office will have the following internal guidelines as well as external showing instructions. Please note you MUST following YOUR Employing Broker Office Policy guidelines. These are a sample only.
- No open houses
- Limit to decision makers only. Recommend only 3 people at a time, if possible.
- No one under 18 years of age.
- No overlapping showings
- At the beginning of each appointment, Broker must ask client have symptoms for COVID or have
been in contact with known positive cases.
- Everyone must wear a mask. (Conversation with our brokers: Broker Associates can provide
these masks to their clients at their expense or communicating that expectation that the client
provide their own, which shouldn’t be an issue)
- Brokers must be the only one touching any and all surfaces. This includes opening
doors/cabinets, turning on light switches, etc. Brokers must wear new gloves for each property
shown. All surfaces touched must be immediately wiped down after touching.
- There must be 6′ feet between Broker and clients at all times.
- Brokers must maintain a log of every client and property visited.
- Where possible provide as many services as possible electronically
Have a wonderful rest of your week and as always, let me know if I can be of service to you.
Colorado Real Estate Essential Services A Timeline from CAR
As the COVID‐19 pandemic took hold in countries across the globe, including the United States, the state of Colorado began implementing a wide range of preventive measures to help reduce the spread of the virus in our state.
Here is a brief timeline of the state of Colorado’s mandates and executive orders that impacted the residential real estate industry and the various efforts and outcomes resulting from the lobbying and communications efforts by the Colorado Association of REALTORS® on behalf of its 26,000 members.
- March 19, 2020 ‐ CAR and other industry stakeholders sent a letter to Colorado’s Secretary of State requesting an Executive Order to allow for the use of remote notarization technology to waive the “personal appearance” requirement to remotely complete real estate notarizations. Government Affairs is simultaneously working to pass more permanent legislation when the legislature reconvenes.
- March 22, 2020 – In anticipation of a statewide stay‐at‐home order, CAR sent a letter to Governor Polis asking that he acknowledge the importance of the real estate industry in the basic economic health of our economy and to accept a request that any “shelter in place” order include an exception that provides, in substance: “Essential services related to real estate transactions include, but are not limited to, title searches, appraisals, permitting, inspections, construction, moving, and the recordation, legal, financial and other services necessary to complete a transfer of real property.” Read the full letter here.
- March 24, 2020 – CAR was successful in working with the Colorado Bar Association in the creation of an approved addendum to the Commission‐approved Contract to Buy and Sell Real Estate to address the practical implications of Covid‐19. The Emergency Covid‐19 Contract Addendum addresses real estate transactions that are impacted and/or delayed by shutdowns of title offices, government agencies, lenders and/or appraisers; and real estate transactions that are impacted and/or delayed by mandatory or voluntary quarantines.
- March 25, 2020 – Colorado Governor Jared Polis issued a “Stay at Home” order. In the Governor’s original order, “real estate transactions” were not included in the category of Essential Services in any manner.
- March 26, 2020 – Within 24 hours, CAR was successful in obtaining an Amendment to the “Stay at Home” order including “real estate transactions” as a “Critical Business.” From CAR’s perspective, the definition of a “real estate transaction” included RESPONSIBLY performing brokerage activities from formal client engagement through closing/possession.
- March 31, 2020 – a real estate agent in the Denver area received a cease and desist letter from the Attorney General’s office stating that “showings” were specifically NOT a part of a “real estate transaction.” The issue sparked a variety of news stories.
- March 31, 2020 – CAR formally reached out to the AG’s office to argue that their interpretation that a “showing” is NOT part of a real estate transaction was unrealistically narrow. The AG’s office disagreed. During the Real Estate Commission meeting’s public comment section that morning, in response to the PUBLIC COMMENT OF OTHERS, the AG went even further to indicate that “inspections and walk‐throughs” (including ANY in‐person activities other than actually attending a closing, were precluded under the Order). CAR immediately and publicly went on record to disagree with the Deputy AG’s expansive interpretation and requested that they (or the Governor’s office) provide explicit clarity to the Order.
- April 1 – 5 – Since the AGs limited public interpretation at the Commission meeting on March 31, CAR and its leadership, lobbyists & Government Affairs team continued to work to obtain a reasonable, practical interpretation of the Order from both the AG’s office and/or the Governor’s office.
- April 6 – In an effort to protect Colorado REALTORS® from fines or other enforcement, CAR sent out an email to our entire membership to communicate the Attorney General’s conclusion that only real estate transactions that actually transfer real property ownership (closings) are permissible and even they must comply with the Social Distancing Requirements set forth in the Health Order.
- April 8 ‐ CAR worked with partners in the real estate industry to send a stakeholder letter to the Governor’s office respectfully requesting that real estate related services be clarified to include any critical aspect of the real estate transaction such as property inspection, final walkthroughs and showings if they can be done with virtual technology that would not violate the social distancing precautions under the shelter in place requirements.
- April 9 – As a direct result of CAR’s working relationship with the Governor, the Attorney General’s Office, the Division of Real Estate, and the Division of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), DORA issued updated guidance to all licensees. In this update, it clarified that real estate appraisals, closings, home inspections and final walkthroughs are considered critical services to complete real estate transactions. However, the Attorney General again asserted that showing a property or conducting an open house in‐person during the COVID‐19 pandemic shall be avoided as it violates the specific mandates of recently issued executive and public health orders. CAR continues to communicate to state agencies that such an interpretation was incredibly narrow as it precluded brokers from entering properties to allow for photos or other means necessary to create virtual tours.
- April 10 ‐ Today ‐ CAR continues conversations with government entities and stakeholders about the essential nature of real estate and impact the Order is having on consumers, REALTORS® and overall industry. Discussions revolve around amending the current order to allow reasonable restrictions on real estate transactions, as well as advising on steps that should be included in any plan designed to open up business functions as the Governor acts to lift the Shelter in Place Order.
Week ok April 20th
From: BLCOVID19 <BLCOVID19@coag.gov>
Date: Wed, Apr 15, 2020, 4:13 PM
Subject: Guidance on Real Estate Practices During a Pandemic To:
Thank you for your inquiry. While my office is unable to provide legal advice, we have been providing our position on current state pandemic orders for regulated professionals, including licensed
brokers. My office’s view is that the type of broker conduct depicted in your inquiry (entering residences to take photos/video, even while the property is vacant or the residents are not on the premises) is prohibited by current state pandemic orders. Such services also would be prohibited by non‐brokers, as these type of tertiary services related to the real estate industry, such real estate photography, staging, videography, do not qualify as a “Critical Business,” Necessary Travel, or a “Necessary Activity.” Importantly, only “real estate transactions” are exempted and it is a very limited exemption. I have attached recent guidance issued by the Division of Real Estate regarding this term and broker compliance with these orders.
Although this is probably not the answer you wanted to receive, it is essential to comply with these orders to ensure public health and safety.
All people in Colorado must follow the letter and the spirit of these orders and we implore all to not try to bend the rules or find loopholes. It’s up to us all to keep people safe and build up our health care system so we can treat people who are sick and save lives. Your conscientious business practices are greatly appreciated during these very challenging times.
Links to the government websites that are updating this information daily are: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/dora/covid‐19‐updates‐licensees‐and‐consumers and
All my best for a healthy and safe business during these challenging times. Sincerely,
FOR THE ATTORNEY GENERAL,
First Assistant Attorney General
Colorado Office of the Attorney General State of Colorado
Week of April 6th
Updated Guidance on Practicing Real Estate During this Pandemic – April 9, 2020
The Department of Regulatory Agencies Division of Real Estate recently issued updated guidance on practicing real estate during this pandemic. In this update, it is clarified that “Real estate appraisals and closings are considered critical services to complete real estate transactions. Further, home inspections and final walkthroughs after a buyer has signed a purchase contract and is therefore a condition precedent to the actual transfer of property, is also considered to be an essential part of the real estate transaction. Elements that are fundamental to the real estate transaction are deemed essential to support market activity. However, showing a property or conducting an open house in-person during the COVID-19 pandemic shall be avoided as it violates the specific mandates of recently issued executive and public health orders.” Read DORA’s full bulletin here.
CAR and our leadership, lobbyists & Government Affairs team have been working to obtain a reasonable, practical interpretation of the Order from both the AGs office and the Governor’s office. Yesterday, CAR worked with partners in the real estate industry to send a stakeholder letter to the Governor’s office respectfully requesting that real estate related services be clarified to include any critical aspect of the real estate transaction such as property inspection, final walkthroughs and showings if they can be done with virtual technology that would not violate the social distancing precautions under the shelter in place requirements recently extended to April 26th.
Today’s clarification is a direct result of CAR’s working relationship with the Governor, his staff, the Attorney General’s office, the Division of Real Estate, and the Division of Regulatory Agencies. CAR has been working tirelessly to ensure your opportunity to continue to conduct the essential services of your business within the established social distancing, safety and health mandates that are currently in place.
We understand that the last several days have proven to be confusing and challenging but are confident that these clarified guidelines will help Colorado REALTORS® successfully navigate their real estate business within the confines of the Governor’s Order. Again, we want all Colorado REALTORS® to understand that with great power comes great responsibility. And again, this clarification does not reflect “business as usual” for real estate in Colorado. The COVID-19 crisis must be taken extremely seriously and ALL Colorado REALTORS® should take extreme precautions whenever executing any part of their business. State and local mandates are a reflection of the incredibly serious nature of the global health risk and we have a responsibility to protect the public, our clients, and business associates.
All services included in the public health order are subject to social distancing requirements outlined in the Governor’s updated order here.
No matter how difficult the situation is, the Colorado REALTOR® family stands strong. We want to thank you for your patience and understanding. We will make it through this unprecedented time together and emerge stronger advocates for our industry and communities.
Scott Peterson just finished filming a brand new Legal Bites episode where he helps to clarify DORA’s updated guidance on practicing real estate during the crisis. He addresses questions regarding tertiary real estate service providers, i.e. photographers, stagers, movers, etc., and what practices are allowed under the state public health order. The new episode can be found on CAR’s Coronavirus Info Portal or you can watch by clicking here.
Department of Regulatory Agencies
Division of Real Estate
Guidance: Practicing Real Estate During a Pandemic
The Department of Regulatory Agencies, specifically the Division of Real Estate, and the Department of Law have received inquiries regarding the ability of real estate brokers to show property during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis. We want to provide guidance on what a real estate broker can and cannot do during this time.
Public Health Order 20-24, issued pursuant to Executive Order D 2020 017, and amended by Executive Order D 2020 024, does not authorize real estate marketing services such as in-person showings or open houses. Public Health Order 20-24 does not explicitly authorize property inspections or property walkthroughs. Under Public Health Order 20-24, these services are not deemed to be a critical business or a necessary activity for which Coloradans may leave their homes. Real estate appraisals and closings are still considered critical services.
Simply put, showing a property, conducting an open house, performing an inspection or performing a walk-through of a property in-person during the COVID-19 pandemic violates the specific mandates of recently issued executive and public health orders.
Further, encouraging members of the public to engage in non-essential travel and/or requiring residents to leave their residences for the purpose of viewing real property unnecessarily compromises public health by expanding public exposure.
We recognize this is a difficult time, but we are asking for compliance so that the spread of virus and the risk to our population is mitigated whenever and wherever possible. Thank you.
CAR COVID-19 Update: Stay at Home order and Essential Services Interpretation
With the continually evolving COVID-19 circumstances that are impacting all of our personal and professional lives, the Colorado Association of REALTORS® staff and leadership team are committed to providing you with timely, factual information throughout this crisis.
CAR has been in communication with the Attorney General’s office and has learned that the Third Updated Public Health Order 20-24 that was issued in conjunction with the Stay at Home order (Executive Order D 2020 017) does not consider in-person showings and open houses to be a critical business/service. According to the Attorney General’s office, only real estate transactions that actually transfer real property ownership (Closings) are permissible and even they must comply with the Social Distancing Requirements set forth in the Health Order.
We are expecting further and more detailed interpretation and guidance as well as potential restrictions on business activities across a wide range of sectors, including real estate activities and other services previously mentioned under existing orders from the state Attorney General’s Office. We are working to more specifically clarify an interpretation of approved real estate activities that, according to the Attorney General, could potentially expand public risk and exposure.
In the coming hours, we’re also anticipating additional information from the Governor’s office and Attorney General regarding the statewide stay-at-home order and the impact of some of the critical businesses mentioned in the Governor’s Order. In addition, we have solicited guidance from the Division of Real Estate with regard to the Attorney General’s interpretation.
Having successfully lobbied on your behalf to ensure the inclusion of some real estate in the Governor’s list of approved essential services, we are equally motivated to do our part and adhere to the mandates of the government, healthcare and other experts who are calling upon us all to do our part to help reduce the spread of Covid-19 and the risk to the public. We are focused on protecting you and your businesses, while we are equally focused on doing everything we can to help be a part of the solution and to help save lives.
Once we are able to hear and read any forthcoming updates from the Governor and the Attorney General’s office in the days ahead, we will evaluate and interpret that information and share pertinent changes to our industry practices with you.
Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do in support of our industry, your fellow members, clients, neighbors, and communities as we continue to navigate through this rapidly moving and unprecedented challenge.
Week of March 30th
Scott Peterson, counsel for The Colorado Association of Realtors, has a You Tube Video that can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6uWdHtbX3Z8
March 31, 2020
COLORADO SECRETARY OF STATE’S OFFICE IMPLEMENTS REMOTE NOTARIZATION
After working closely with the Governor’s office, stakeholders, and the legal community, the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office has implemented a remote notarization process.
“We are committed to maintaining important services for Coloradans during this national health crisis,” said Secretary of State Jena Griswold. “Remote notarization will enable Coloradans and businesses continued access to notary services while observing the social distancing guidelines that keep us all safe.”
Governor Polis issued an Executive Order today, which states in part: “Pursuant to the authority vested in the Governor of the State of Colorado and, in particular, pursuant to Article IV, Section 2 of the Colorado Constitution and the relevant portions of the Colorado Disaster Emergency Act, C.R.S. § 24-33.5-701 et seq. (Act), I, Jared Polis, Governor of the State of Colorado, hereby issue this Executive Order ordering the temporary suspension of the personal appearance requirement before notarial officers to perform notarizations due to the presence of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Colorado.”
Secretary Griswold issued emergency rules on Monday, March 30, setting forth the procedures and requirements for remote notarization in Colorado during this state of emergency. These rules address implementation of the remote notarization process while including protections against identity theft and fraud.
For the Notice of Temporary Adoption for the Colorado Notary Program Rules (8 CCR 1505-11), please click here. The notice includes the adopted rules, a statement of basis, and statement of justification. For an unofficial copy of the notary rules as adopted and effective 3/30/2020, please click here. If you have any questions concerning these rules please email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, please visit www.sos.state.co.us.
Notice of Emergency Adoption of Notary Rules: New Rule 5 Concerning Remote Notarization
On March 10, 2020, the Colorado Governor declared a disaster emergency due to the COVID-19 contagion. And on March 28, 2020, the Colorado Governor issued Executive Order D 2020 019, suspending the requirement for personal appearance before a notary officer as set forth in Section 24-21-506, C.R.S. Today, Secretary Griswold adopted emergency rules setting forth procedures and requirements for remote notarization in Colorado during this state of emergency. These rules address implementation of the remote notarization process while including protections against identity theft and fraud.
For the Notice of Temporary Adoption for the Colorado Notary Program Rules (8 CCR 1505-11), please click here. The notice includes the adopted rules, a statement of basis, and statement of justification. For an unofficial copy of the notary rules as adopted and effective 3/30/2020, please click here.
Week of March 23rd
March 24, 2020
Our country is in the throes of something unprecedented. No one could have imagined or planned for the events of the past two weeks.
We are so proud of our talented and devoted staff and leadership team for keeping NAR fully operational in support of our members while working remotely and weathering the near total shutdown of Chicago and Washington, D.C.
Like many Americans, they are operating under extraordinary circumstances.
Congress has passed two emergency bills so far to respond to this pandemic, and a third will likely pass this week. Our advocacy team has been involved in the crafting of these bills.
NAR urged Congressional leaders several weeks ago to include support for self-employed professionals, small businesses, and independent contractors in any COVID-19 relief package. We sent a follow-up letter last week.
Our policy team has also been fully engaged with regulatory officials to ensure our members are represented during fast-moving rule changes.
We know it is a lot to keep track of, which is why our team is analyzing the information and posting updates regularly on The Hub and NAR’s website and social media pages. Check out the latest activity here.
Here are some of the developments from the past two weeks:
Members and Families
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) created emergency paid sick and family leave for workers affected by COVID-19.
It also created refundable tax credits designed to provide a dollar-for-dollar offset for small businesses and independent contractors to cover the cost of these new paid sick and family medical leave benefits. There are still details that need to be released from Treasury and the Department of Labor on how these new programs will operate, including potential exemptions for small businesses with fewer than 50 employees. For more on the FFCRA, see here.
Legislation currently under development in the Senate is expected to extend cash payments of up to $1,200 to most American adults plus $500 for each dependent child under age 17 by April.
Early drafts of the measure also include $350 billion for SBA loans, $250 billion in unemployment insurance (including expanding benefits to the self-employed), and $300 billion for the Economic Stabilization Fund.
NAR also signed a coalition letter that would encourage Congress to provide readily accessible, unsecured credit to employers of any size and self-employed individuals to ensure they have the cash to pay their workers, rent, and other costs during this crisis.
We are advocating for an array of other tax changes to help our members through this emergency, including liberalizing rules governing withdrawals from pension plans and IRAs; delaying the payment of business payroll taxes; allowing businesses to carry back any net operating losses against previous year tax payments; suspending the limitation on interest expense deductions for tax year 2020 to avoid penalizing businesses for borrowing during this crisis; and suspending the loss limitation on pass-through businesses to allow businesses to full deduct any losses they incur this year. We have been told most of these provisions will likely be included in the third relief bill.
Consumers and Transactions
NAR is working with other trade associations and industry partners to expand access to remote online notary in any pandemic relief bills.
We also called for direct rental assistance for families who have income loss due to COVID-19 and relief for property owners from the financial obligations of forbearance and foreclosures.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) noticed a foreclosure and eviction moratorium for 60 days (through May 16) for FHA single family mortgage borrowers and Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) borrowers. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has also directed Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to do the same, while many individual lenders are offering individual relief to consumers.
This morning, we also saw more action out of the FHFA to temporarily expand the use of appraisal alternatives and provide flexibility around employment verification, such as acceptance of email from employer or bank statements showing payroll deposits. This is especially important as more businesses are forced to close during the pandemic and may be unavailable for oral verification.
Student loan servicers are also making arrangements for relief during this time, and the Administration is temporarily waiving all interest on student loans.
Real Estate Business/Industry
NAR is working to get certain real estate services deemed “essential” in emergency declarations. Many of our state associations are reaching out to their governors on this issue. Our country is facing rapidly rising unemployment. There are 9.5 million jobs in the real estate, rental, & leasing Industry, and every two home sales generate one job. We need to drive this message home with our elected leaders.
We also called for Treasury to include deadline relief for 1031 like-kind exchanges, including an extension of the 45-day period for identifying possible properties as exchange candidates and the 180-day requirement to close on the replacement property. There will undoubtedly be delays in settlements during the outbreak.
NAR also asked the Treasury Department and IRS for deadline relief for the working capital safe harbor for Qualified Opportunity Funds.
Our dedicated COVID-19 webpage will be updated in real time with analysis and changing events in Washington. We encourage you to check it regularly.
We don’t know when this national emergency will end. But NAR remains open and fully capable to support you the entire way.
Bob Goldberg, CEO
Vince Malta, 2020 President
Week of March 16th
Dear Brokers and Affiliates:
I hope this message finds you well, during this unusual and unique time of a world-wide potential health crisis.
Following the recommendations and orders from the governor and the CDC, starting March 18, 2020 and through the end of the month, the Grand Junction Area REALTOR® Association office will be closed to the public and to members. Judy and Tawnee will be available by phone and email.
All events currently scheduled during this time will be cancelled until after the crisis has passed and we are then able to determine dates, locations, etc for all events. Stay tuned for announcements.
All classes will be cancelled or moved to an on-line format. If you have registered for a class, you will receive information regarding the status of your class and how you will participate in an on-line format, if the instructor has chosen to provide it in that fashion. If the instructor for the class you have signed up for is not providing on-line education, you will be given an opportunity to register for an alternate class.
After March 31, taking into account national and state regulations and recommendations, we will re-evaluate the situation. Thank you all for your patience through this time and if I can be of any assistance to you, please call me personally.