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By: Bill Festa on in  | 

Nearly 8,000 Realtors® Respond to PAR’s Call-to-Action

I wanted to provide you all with an update on PAR’s latest activities.

Legislative Action

Let me first thank all of you who responded to PAR’s call-to-action. In less than 24 hours, we sent a record number of emails to legislators – nearly 8,000! We asked legislators to support Senate Bill 613, as amended, and the bill passed the House yesterday. The legislation would require Pennsylvania to follow federal guidelines for Critical Infrastructure Workers as amended within the Critical Infrastructure Guidelines released on March 28, 2020 by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.  The bill will need to return to the Senate for another vote, which may be as early as today.

Industry Waiver Request

PAR received an official denial from the governor’s office on April 11 regarding our initial waiver request to reclassify real estate services as life-sustaining. We filed a request for a waiver on March 20 after the shutdown was announced.

Amicus Brief Filing

PAR had previously filed an amicus brief supporting a lawsuit filed against Gov. Tom Wolf. The lawsuit is on behalf of several businesses, which have been impacted by the arbitrary and unclear rules under the governor’s closure order issued last month, and our brief specifically asked the court to consider an order that would reclassify real estate as a life-sustaining business. We learned on Monday, April 13, that the PA Supreme Court decided in favor of the state. Though the specific reclassification issues in our brief (and in another filed by homebuilders’ associations) were not explicitly addressed, those issues are no longer in front of the court since the underlying case was denied. PAR is continuing to assess whether further legal actions in some other venue may be prudent.

Guidance from Department of State

PAR notified you on Friday that additional guidance issued by the Department of State, now permits limited in-person property inspections, appraisals, final walk-throughs and title insurance activities only for residential real estate resale transactions that were under agreement on or before March 18, 2020. We believe there are additional inconsistencies in the guidance and PAR is sending a list of those to the Department of State to gain further clarification.

Moving Forward

As we talk with members across the state, we are hearing more stories about how the governor’s orders are affecting consumers and their ability to gain housing. These stories are gaining media exposure across the state, which underscores our key message to the administration and legislators. A number of people find themselves in shaky housing circumstances given the current order. The association, its leaders and staff remain committed to our mission of protecting private property rights, facilitating a consistent and reliable marketplace and promoting the professional, ethical and successful practice of real estate. We continue to advocate for you at every level.

28 Responses
  • April 15, 2020 at 7:41 am Thomas Price says

    Thank you for all your hard work. We are blessed to have such an active advocate for us and our communities.

    Reply
  • April 15, 2020 at 7:43 am Michael E Orlic says

    I oppose this move by PAR to continue to fight the governor and
    the PA Supreme Court and their concern for the life and safety
    of the majority of Pennsylvania citizens. PAR is not speaking for me.

    There many realtors® who are very concerned with the safety
    of our neighbors, clients, friends, relatives in our community,
    state and our country and oppose reclassifying real estate
    as a life-sustaining business. We must be “leaders” in encouraging
    everyone to ethically follow guidelines in our behavior
    which does not jeopardize many others. This is not just about “US”.

    Please look at the sacrifices that others are unselfishly making.
    We are extremely thankful for the many people in the medical
    field who are caring for those who are victims of this nasty virus.

    At least we can continue to “speak out” and make sacrifices
    today that will benefit everyone in our community, state
    and our country tomorrow. Things will improve and
    we will be a stronger nation as a result of this.

    We, as Realtors® have to be willing to make these sacrifices until
    we have better medical advice from those who are “experts” and
    are not political or selfish.

    Michael E Orlic RE, Broker
    Realtor®

    Reply
  • April 15, 2020 at 7:45 am Linda Walters says

    Would love to have a standard waiver for listing agents to give out in order to allow showings once they are permitted. I understand Idaho, for example, has one.

    Reply
  • April 15, 2020 at 7:52 am Thom McDonell says

    How can you, with a straight face, say that you are advocating for us at every level? You are making deciaions in a vacuum, ladies and gentlemen! Have you bothered to ask us, the dues-paying members who keep you in your jobs, what WE want? No, you haven’t. Shame. You have gone down on the wrong side of history on this one, PAR. There are PLENTY of members besides me who feel this way! Read your comments on FaceBook and REACT rather than ignoring.

    Reply
  • April 15, 2020 at 8:04 am richard goldberg says

    How can you not allow touring a home where no one lives there? “ Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater!”

    Reply
  • April 15, 2020 at 8:13 am Bill Strain says

    That’s great, but what about unemployment for independent contractors?

    Reply
  • April 15, 2020 at 8:17 am Maribeth Jones GRI,CRS,CRB says

    thank you for your consistent effort in allowing realtors and builders to move forward with business. I have a contract on a property that is supposed to go to foreclosure/sheriff sale June 5. Settlement will be May 15 or before. financing is securing inspections completed appraisal done and we need to close this property. Date of contract March 21. This is just one example of need to close. The owner has equity in this home.
    We have people trying to relocate to the area and are not in a position to show them properties. We need to make this happen and allow us to work in some capacity. Again thank you for your efforts and our prayers are that this bill gets past and we are allowed to work.

    Reply
  • April 15, 2020 at 8:33 am Mark Krystyniak says

    Thank You for All your support in these matters

    Reply
  • April 15, 2020 at 8:47 am Thomas G NeCastro says

    After the 911 attacks, our personal freedoms were restricted until the nation was able to gain an understanding of the situation. Until we have a better understanding of this situation, I believe it is foolhardy to rush a return to normal. There seems to be a tendency to classify an inconvenience as an emergency. Private property rights are generally not important to the deceased.

    Reply
  • April 15, 2020 at 8:58 am Ruth Killian says

    Thank you for working tirelessly on our behalf.

    Reply
  • April 15, 2020 at 9:07 am Mindi Weikert-Kauffman says

    I am appreciative of the efforts of a few grass roots groups of which I am a member and PAR. I firmly believe that I am at a greater risk getting groceries, getting gas or other such allowable activity than I am showing a home to 1 or 2 adults who desperately need a home. Real estate being non-essential also means rentals so folks moving to PA will be rendered homeless or spending their deposit monies on a hotel, take-out, property storage etc. I am not and neither is the bill advocating for business as usual. No open houses, no extended family at showings, no attendees at inspections or appraisals. Come on people….are we so near sighted that we cannot see working on a limited basis. Prior to the shut down, I was out in my N95 mask, and wipes. Using a pair of gloves for each home. Pennsylvania is not even following the fed guidelines. I am disgusted at the amount of taxes my team and I pay for the governor to turn a blind eye. My request for a waiver was denied and the language used, I can tell it was not even read. I work 95% remote. Our admins work remote. Meanwhile, others in my industry got approved? How is that? Purely discriminatory behavior.
    Please consider a yes vote with restrictions is all we ask. I can see now why our slogan is no longer ‘you’ve got. Friend in PA.’

    Reply
  • April 15, 2020 at 9:40 am Anonymous says

    You are being extremely selfish. If realtors need a job at this point I’m sure they could find a job helping care for all these sick patients. Or maybe start building some temporary hospitals since we’re about to run out of hospital beds in some areas of the state. Allowing real estate to practice would only extend the period of time we continue to have to be under this order. Please consider the actual “essential employees” like doctors and nurses who are tirelessly working to beat this. THEY NEED US TO STAY HOME.

    Reply
  • April 15, 2020 at 9:44 am Twyla Phillips says

    Thank you for your continued efforts in proving housing is a life sustaining necessity. No one should be forced to stay in a housing situation where they are not comfortable. The decision should always be the consumers.

    Reply
  • April 15, 2020 at 9:56 am Karen A Beatty says

    Let’s Go For It!

    Reply
  • April 15, 2020 at 9:59 am Jaime Wisniewski says

    Real Estate and all of its components (title insurance, appraisal, lending, etc) are all intricate parts essential business

    Reply
  • April 15, 2020 at 10:00 am Priscilla McDonald says

    I am sorry that I assumed more Realtors would be concerned about the health and safety of our members and community. I did not give my opinion, assuming people would care more about the spread of the disease than the spread of the money. We are finding that the coronavirus is affecting banking people, cashiers at Convenience and grocery stores, as well as healthcare workers, fireman, policeman and all kinds of people in “life-sustaining“ businesses. Each affected person can pass the virus to at least 4 or more family members. Why can’t we just wait until we get the green light from the health care professionals?

    Reply
  • April 15, 2020 at 10:15 am Jack W Intrator says

    Is the moratorium on evictions still in effect?

    Reply
  • April 15, 2020 at 10:19 am Kriston McCard says

    Life Sustaining – is providing housing for individuals seeking to remove themselves from or out of living situations that are not conducive for them to live in. You’re leaving buyers in properties that are not being maintained by landlords- infestations- leaking ceilings etc. Please give us the ability to help these individuals.

    Reply
  • April 15, 2020 at 10:26 am Dan says

    Fantastic news! I just watched Harrisburg news and they said that when it makes it to the Governors desk, he can sign it, reject it, or let it sit for 10 days at which point it becomes a law anyway.
    Would you care to give us your thoughts as to why Wolf has been resistant in regards to real estate professionals thus far? Even from a logical point of view, we can’t seem to get our head around this issue.

    Reply
  • April 15, 2020 at 10:27 am Michael J Anthony says

    I am a seller and a buyer. Our home has been on the market for 2.5 years and we finally have a committed buyer. We are concerned about losing our buyer and losing the opportunity to purchase our new home with the continued restrictions. The order should be all-inclusive and not include an ‘as-of date’ exclusion. We are the United States of America, not the United States of America with Exclusions for Some and Not Others. I see no reason surveys, inspections, title work, attorneys, and filings cannot be done electronically. In the past I have participated in real estate transactions where everything but the closing and inspections were done electronically. I know many in the above life-sustaining (life-sustaining to them and their families) above that also have bills to pay and need to provide for their families. Thank you.

    Reply
  • April 15, 2020 at 2:19 pm KarenJane Mcilwain says

    Realtor’s provide an essential service of shelter. I have been unable to assist those in need of shelter since the governor’s order. I was ok with a week maybe two weeks under this but not a month or more. This is not the American way to abandon the economy and shudder in fear in our houses. I thank PAR for their efforts and was most pleased with their attempt to sue the governor. Using CDC guidelines or additional guidelines to protect the public from getting sick is important for society as a whole. The governor has taken drastic steps and these steps are hurting the public in need of shelter and the economic consequences that come with not being able to sell or buy a house.

    Reply
  • April 15, 2020 at 2:39 pm Keith "The Closer" says

    I see the opposing comments. I believe the bill creates options. All parts of PA are not the same nor in the samee conditions. If you are a realtor that believes strongly that you should stay home and not show houses you can quarantine and stay home. If you are an agent that can safely show and list homes with safe distancing rules, now you can. The Bill will allow those that want to work to help people with housing to do so. While I have not showed houses since the governor ordered the shut down, I have been shopping at various stores. I believe that I would be more likely to contact the virus in some of these stores than showing a house smartly.

    Reply
  • April 15, 2020 at 8:31 pm Robert Abbott says

    I would like to greatly thank the staff and leadership of PAR For their huge effort and perseverance in trying to give us options to get back to work. Thank you!

    Reply
  • April 16, 2020 at 1:25 pm Ryan Thomas says

    I really don’t understand why people have to argue their point by attacking the other side. I don’t see anyone who is for this bill calling those who are against it fear mongers or unintelligent. But it seems the common argument for those who are against this to say that the rest are greedy, selfish, or not caring about peoples safety. I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on the subject, but what I do know is this…. Most of my clients could wait, but the ones that can’t are in a really tough situation right now. Those clients have a much more essential need than all the people lined up at the fast food drive throughs and pizza shops. The point of all this is to not overwhelm the healthcare system, not to stop people from getting it (its not if, but when). My friend who works in the ER has interacted with confirmed cases, says his hospital is no where near capacity issues, and is generally not concerned about this pandemic. In PA .02% of confirmed cases have died and .04% in the country. The average age of those who die is 75. As far as trusting the decision makers, Governor Wolf is in the large minority of those who view this industry as non-essential. So, from my perspective we have slowed the spread and the system can handle society opening back up little by little. We need to keep the goal in mind… it’s not to stop us from getting it but to keep us from all getting it at the same time. its not to keep us safe by keeping us from getting it, its to keep us safe by making sure the hospitals can handle those that need more care.

    Reply
  • April 16, 2020 at 3:28 pm Christine says

    We have been instructed by our President and CDC to stay at home. We where told financial relief would come in the form of unemployment with a covid 19 additional increase.
    A PPP loan and a Disater SBA Covid 19 loan.
    Real estate transactions have multiple organizations and people involved. It is selfish while still in a still very active pandemic to be creating law suits at this time! We should be focusing on positive change with ideas and suggestions. It 2020 why was PA not ready for remote working?

    Reply
  • April 16, 2020 at 7:25 pm Dian Colletti says

    I see that PAR is screening blog comments and removing some those that disagree with the action to force Realtors out into the market, risking the health of “over 35000 PAR members. “Almost 8000” call to action calls represents a very clear minority of Realtors who pay dues to PAR. Since the majority were not give a voice by the call to action to DISAGREE with the call, please note that you can reach out to Pennsylvania Governor Wolf’s office as he has the power to veto this irresponsible division that puts Realtors, our family and client consumers at risk. Go to Governor Wolfs website to voice your opinion that he should veto this legislation forcing us to work before it is safe and stripping us of our ability to collect unemployment compensation while safely remaining home until it is decided by Scientists and Medical professionals, not PAR As to when it is safe to return to work. Governor.pa.gov , you can submit an online form asking him to veto this bill.

    Reply
  • April 17, 2020 at 6:08 pm Dian Colletti says

    Thankfully it appears as though Governor Wolf will veto the bill 613 so heavily supported by PAR. Go to governor.pa.gov to read a statement by the Pennsylvania commonwealth dept of health. Some helpful information for those with limited or no income at this time: SNAP ( food stamp) benefits are available to those qualifying. You can find this information on the PA Dept of Human Services as well as medical insurance at no cost or low cost through the affordable care act. In addition there is help with your heating bills under a program titled LIHEAP also processed through the PaDept of Human Services. These programs are designed to help people when they experience unexpected financial need. I helped my sister obtain these benefits when her husband who was also a self employed small business owner died suddenly and unexpectedly leaving her with no income. These programs helped her though this awful time for a year or so until she found employment. Our priority right now is to stay safe, keep our family and clients safe until we can be assured that this fast spreading highly contagious virus is under control.

    Reply
  • April 19, 2020 at 8:59 am Lisa Hetland says

    Thank you for all that you are doing to advocate for us!

    Reply

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