Emergency Rental Assistance Program Applications

(5/10) Pennsylvania counties have launched the Emergency Rental Assistance Program approved by the passage of the second federal stimulus bill in late December. 

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Real Estate in the Age of COVID-19: Suggested Best Practices

(Updated 3/1/2021) Removed references to travel order rescinded as of March 1, 2021.

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Frequently Asked Questions

PA Government Order FAQs (rev. 3/31/2021)

Is real estate an "essential business" in Pennsylvania?

What in-person real estate activities are currently permitted in Pennsylvania?

Can other service providers participating in a real estate transaction do business in-person?

Can I still do short term rentals?

Are in-person activities permitted for commercial transactions?

Are in-person activities permitted for residential leasing transactions?

What Personal Protective Equipment is required for real estate activities?

Are brokers responsible for enforcing the state mask rules?

Should agents be implementing mask rules at listed properties?

Are there testing or quarantine rules that apply to out-of-state clients traveling to Pennsylvania?

When are real estate licensees eligible to be vaccinated?

Do all the same rules apply when interacting with people who have been vaccinated, or who have recovered from an infection?

Business FAQs (rev. 11/25/2020)

Can my real estate office stay open?

Am I required to keep my office open for in-person activity?

What rules do I have to follow if my office stays open?

Are any additional health screenings necessary to keep my office open?

How should we handle positive COVID-19 tests?

How are these state orders being enforced against businesses?

PAR’s listing and buyer agency contracts all set specific end dates. Do these dates automatically extend if we are unable to service our clients for some time during this state of emergency?

Will MLSs be adjusting their rules and policies to account for the market disruption this is causing?

Transaction FAQs (rev. 2/1/2021)

Can I still hold open house events?

My client is demanding that I arrange a showing under terms that would violate state requirements. Am I legally or contractually obligated to do so?

What is a “virtual” showing or open house? Is it OK for an agent to visit a property to take pictures or stream a video walkthrough?

What about vacant properties?

How many people can be in a property for a showing, inspection, etc.?

My broker is instructing me on what in-person services I can and cannot offer clients. But I’m an independent contractor; can she do that?

Is there still an eviction moratorium in place?

Forms and Extension FAQs (rev. 11/24/2020)

Does PAR have a form to deal with transactional delays?

Who is the “notifying party” in the bottom section of PAR Form COVID?

Does PAR have forms to facilitate in-person real estate activities where they are permitted?

Does PAR have suggested best practices to facilitate in-person real estate activities where they are permitted?

Does PAR have a sample brokerage policy that brokers can adopt for their business?

Does HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) apply when using a health screening questionnaire (such as PAR Form COVID-HSA) about possible COVID-19 risk factors?

Licensing and Education FAQs (rev. 11/25/2020)

What if I did not renew my license prior to the extended deadline of August 29, 2020?

How can I complete my continuing education (CE) credits for this renewal cycle?

Will new salesperson candidates be able to complete their pre-license education and take their licensing exam?

Will broker candidates be able to complete their required education and take the broker exam?

Vaccine FAQs (2/5/2021)

Where can I find information about Pennsylvania's vaccination plan?

When are estate licensees eligible to be vaccinated?

Can brokers require that their workers get a COVID-19 vaccine?

Can brokers require agents to get vaccinated, even though most work as independent contractors?

Do brokers have to provide disability-based exceptions to a mandatory vaccine policy?

Do brokers have to provide religious-based exceptions to a mandatory vaccine policy?

Can brokers require proof of vaccination?

But...HIPAA!

Could a broker run a vaccination clinic at the office to get agents and employees vaccinated?

Could sellers refuse to let individuals into a property if they have not been vaccinated (agents, buyers, inspectors, etc.)?

Financial FAQs

(1/22) The Unemployment Compensation and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance programs have been, and continue to be, problematic and confusing for many Realtors®. PAR has provided information regarding unemployment on its website as it has become available. Many members are looking for answers to various scenarios in their individual businesses. Although it is difficult to get answers to specific and unique member application questions, general scenario themes emerged.

Based on the many requests from members for answers to their eligibility for PUA, PAR forwarded the some of the most common questions received via social member and through PAR’s Legal Hotline. Recently, the state’s Department of Labor and Industry responded to PAR’s request for answers and clarification. Those questions and answers from the Department of Labor and Industry follow.

As an independent contractor, do I qualify for any state and/or federal benefits if I am unable to work?

As a Realtor®, am I eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance?

Now that there are no real estate-specific practice restriction, will Realtors® still be able to collect PUA or will they be forced to work? 

When is my income earned?

Can I still file for unemployment compensation if I am showing homes again, but not receiving commissions until later? Do I indicate unemployed unless I’ve received a commission?

How do I determine net income when my commission checks are sporadic and my expenses fluctuate throughout the year? How do I figure hourly earnings since my net income varies due to timing of commissions and expenses incurred in arriving at net income?

If I am a Realtor®, but I also have a second W-2 job, am I eligible for PUA? 

If I am a Realtor®, and I receive Social Security benefits, am I eligible for PUA? 

If I am a Realtor®, and I receive a pension, retirement or annuity payment, am I eligible for PUA? 

For someone who recently became a Realtor® and has always had a W-2 in the past, should they apply for PUA or traditional unemployment compensation? 

As a Realtor®, what earnings history should I be using? My latest filed taxes are from 2018, I have my 1099 from 2019, but I’ve also earned (and lost) some commissions in 2020? 

What if I made a huge mistake when completing my PUA application, but I’m unable to edit my claim online and the phone number is a busy signal? How can I correct this mistake?

The PUA application asks for an employment history. How does this apply since we are independent contractors? It asks about hours, schedule, salary, etc. which are not set or steady for Realtors®.

The PUA application asks for documentation that we cannot work. What documentation is needed? Where would we find it? 

What is considered income for the PUA claim – does Social Security, pension or child support and alimony constitute income?

When you file for weekly benefits, do you have to do the whole certification process again?

When will the PUA program end?

Real Estate in the Age of COVID-19: Suggested Best Practices

Licensees should attempt to perform activities remotely without contact whenever possible.

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Latest Articles Related to Coronavirus

Eviction Moratorium Struck Down by Federal Judge

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All Pennsylvania Residents Will Be Eligible for COVID Vaccinations by Mid-April

The Pennsylvania Department of Health announced yesterday its plan to accelerate the COVID-19 vaccination timetable for those in Phases 1B, 1C and 2. All Pennsylvanians will be eligible to schedule vaccination appointments beginning April 19, however eligibility does not guarantee immediate availability.

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Guidance for the Vaccinated – An Update

Our recommendation – consistent with the CDC guidance and amended Pennsylvania order – is that real estate licensees should continue to wear masks when interacting with clients regardless of the setting.

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State and Federal Tax Filing Changes Announced

Federal and state income tax filing due dates were both extended last week but these extensions do not apply to the estimated tax payments that are due on April 15, 2021.

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More Consumers Report Pandemic Accelerated Buying, Selling Decisions

More than half of recent respondents in a recent survey said their moving and/or buying plans have been impacted in the last year due to the pandemic.

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Emergency Rental Assistance Program Rolls Out Across Pennsylvania Counties

The purpose of the Emergency Rental Assistance program is to provide assistance to renters, landlords and utility providers who have been affected by the pandemic and economic insecurity. 

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The COVID-19 Impact on Real Estate Developers

For real estate developers, they have had to pivot original plans and expand their methods to adapt to the changing times. For Valor Capital’s CEO Moises Agami, that meant prioritizing health and safety. 

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State and Federal COVID-19 Updates: What They Mean for Realtors®

Gov. Tom Wolf signed a fourth renewal of the COVID-19 emergency declaration, while President Joe Biden announced a 14-day window (Feb. 24-March 10) in which the Paycheck Protection Program will only be available to businesses of 20 employees or fewer.

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The Importance of Neighbors in a Pandemic

According to survey results from Nextdoor, knowing as few as six neighbors reduces the likelihood of feeling lonely and is linked to lower depression social anxiety and financial concerns related to COVID-19.

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Rental Assistance Funding Approved, Governor Presents Budget Proposal

Legislation creating the framework for distribution of $570 million in rental assistance funding was signed into law. The additional funding for Pennsylvania property owners and renters was provided in the second federal stimulus bill approved by Congress in late December.

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Coronavirus Resources for Property Owners

The National Association of Realtors® has developed a guide for property owners including links to financial institutions, U.S. federal government agencies, mortgage servicers and more.

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