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WR's Breaking News - COVID-19 Update

  • by Cami Morrill
  • Mar 30, 2020, 09:54 AM

BREAKING NEWS

Washington REALTORS®, your voices were heard! WR Staff and Leadership have been working with Governor Inslee's office to address the 17,000+ transactions in the pipeline and the needs of other buyers and sellers eager to enter a purchase and sale agreement. We have good news! Thanks to the hard work of our Government Affairs team, WR's strong leadership team, and Governor Inslee's compassionate and decisive action, he has issued an important memo creating opportunity for pending transactions to close and allowing limited marketing and brokerage services to prospective buyers and sellers. His order allows inspections, appraisals and walk-throughs to take place under very strict conditions described below and in these revised FAQs.

To be clear, brokers still must comply with the Stay Home, Stay Healthy mandate and with extremely limited exceptions are to conduct real estate business from your homes to halt the spread of the Covid-19 virus. For example, brokers will be allowed to meet one-on-one with a client when no other alternative is available, but in no event may more than two people be onsite at a property, including the owner/occupants and the real estate broker. Additionally, social distancing protocols must still be observed and every effort to sanitize surfaces touched must be taken. This also applies to appraisers and inspectors. Private showings are allowed under these new guidelines but again, they are strictly limited to two people on site, including the REALTOR®, as well as following all CDC social distancing and hygiene protocols. 

Please study these FAQs and fully understand how you may conduct business under these new guidelines. Look for additional explanatory videos and messages from WR President Kitty Wallace, Legal Hotline attorney Annie Fitzsimmons and others.

Most importantly, we all must comply with these new guidelines both to protect our fellow citizens, and to ensure that we can keep the guidelines in place. The Governor has placed great trust in the real estate community; if he sees violations of his new order, he can eliminate these in-person opportunities.

IMPORTANT UPDATES

FEDERAL CORONAVIRUS LEGISLATION INCLUDES FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FOR REALTORS AND OTHER INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS

Independent contractors and self-employed workers will be eligible to receive jobless benefits and other assistance under the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package passed by Congress yesterday. The legislation creates a temporary “Pandemic Unemployment Assistance” program for independent contractors and others not usually eligible for unemployment insurance. This benefit would last until December 31, 2020. 

REALTORS® should be aware that this benefit, like others in the coronavirus stimulus package, will take a number of weeks to be implemented at the state level. In Washington State, this program will be administered by the Washington Employment Security Department (“ESD”). REALTORS® interested in learning more about this program and signing up for the listserve should go to this ESD link to sign up. Washington REALTORS® will provide more information on the details of program when it is available. 

Learn more at ESD: https://esd.wa.gov/newsroom/covid-19?_cldee=bWF0dGhld0BzY2Nhci5vcmc%3d&recipientid=contact-79cf8c8723f8461190a3dc108641f4c9-a087583acef6467691af1da5b8122666&utm_source=ClickDimensions&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Coronavirus&esid=dd84cbd4-2a71-ea11-9c3d-00155d080808

HAVE THE DEADLINES FOR IDENTIFYING AND CLOSING 1031 EXCHANGES BEEN EXTENDED?

To date, there are no extensions for the 1031 Exchange deadlines. The National Association of REALTORS® is pressing the U.S. Treasury and IRS to extend these deadlines, and the deadlines could be changed by either Congress or the federal agencies.  Moreover, many other real estate trade groups are also weighing in and NAR has approached many Members of Congress to also request this relief. We are hopeful these deadlines will be extended very soon. Washington REALTORS® will update you when we have more information.

COMMERCE ANNOUNCES $1.7 M TO RURAL COUNTIES FOR COVID-19 RESPONSE

Washington State Department of Commerce Director Lisa Brown announced $1.8 million in additional state Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) to rural counties to assist people and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Learn more at the Washington State Department of Commerce at https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/WADOC/bulletins/28365b6?_cldee=bWF0dGhld0BzY2Nhci5vcmc%3d&recipientid=contact-79cf8c8723f8461190a3dc108641f4c9-a087583acef6467691af1da5b8122666&utm_source=ClickDimensions&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Coronavirus&esid=dd84cbd4-2a71-ea11-9c3d-00155d080808

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH UPDATES REGARDING LARGE ON-SITE SEWAGE SYSTEMS

"In order to ensure residents served by onsite sewage systems (both large and small) are protected from failures, the Washington State Department of Health published a document identifying essential activities involved with responding to on-site sewage system failures and prevention of failures."

Learn more at https://www.warealtor.org/resources/member-resources/news-articles/sub-news-article/2020/03/28/what-are-essential-functions-for-onsite-sewage-systems-during-covid-19---doh-update?_cldee=bWF0dGhld0BzY2Nhci5vcmc%3d&recipientid=contact-79cf8c8723f8461190a3dc108641f4c9-a087583acef6467691af1da5b8122666&utm_source=ClickDimensions&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Coronavirus&esid=dd84cbd4-2a71-ea11-9c3d-00155d080808