Yesterday, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced that, effective immediately, all real estate professionals in Pennsylvania may conduct business-related activities, subject to safety and social distancing restrictions.
Governor Wolf also issued guidance which requires real estate businesses and employees to follow all applicable provisions of the Guidance for Businesses Permitted to Operate During the COVID-19 Disaster Emergency to Ensure the Safety and Health of Employees and the Public, which includes provisions requiring that every person present at a work site, business location, or property offered for sale, wear masks/face coverings, and provisions requiring the establishment of protocols for execution upon discovery that the business or employee has been exposed to a person who is a probable or confirmed case of COVID-19.
Where real estate businesses can conduct operations by telework, they must continue to do so.
All in-person activities, including office visits, property showings, appraisals, inspections, final walk-throughs, and title insurance activities should be scheduled in advance and limited to no more than the real estate professional and 2 people inside a property at any given time, exercising appropriate social distancing.
Records of all appointments are required to be maintained, including contact information for all participants.
Real estate closings should be conducted utilizing remote notary, powers of attorney or the exchange of contract documents electronically or by mail wherever possible. Where it is not possible to conduct a real estate closing via remote notary or a power of attorney, attendance in-person must be limited to required signatories and their legal counsel or real estate professional only, and steps to preserve social distancing must be followed to the maximum extent possible.
Advance copies of documents should be provided for review prior to the settlement date, wherever possible.
All businesses and employees in the real estate industry authorized to conduct in-person activities are prohibited from providing food during in-person activities and conducting in-person group showings for either potential buyers or real estate professionals, including open houses, broker opens or office tours.
Businesses and employees are also encouraged to minimize in-person activities and attendance to only the most critical individuals, while maintaining social distancing in all in-person interactions, provide sellers with relevant safety information and protocols for cleaning and sanitizing properties; utilize electronic marketing as much as possible, including virtual tours, virtual showings and virtual open houses. provide all individuals at an in-person activity with a verbal health screening, stagger scheduling of property showings, avoid physical contact with the property by staging in advance to prevent the need for interaction with items like lights, interior doors, drapes and blinds; and minimize time spent in the property by having discussions away from the property via remote means.
If you have a question about the newly issued rules and regulations as it pertains to real estate activities in Pennsylvania, please feel free to contact us at email@example.com and an attorney at Nochumson P.C. will immediately reach out to you to schedule a free consultation.