PAR filed an amicus brief supporting a lawsuit filed against Gov. Tom Wolf today. 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 in response to the coronavirus. PAR is specifically requesting that the governor designate real estate services as a life-sustaining business, as most other states have done.
Early on, PAR asked the governor’s office to reclassify real estate services as life-sustaining, following his business closure order. The association has continued to reach out to his office for the last three weeks and has received no formal written response. The governor’s waiver process has created inconsistencies in the marketplace and the guidelines of how these requests would be reviewed has changed throughout the process. The waiver process has now been shut down with little advance notice and no stated rationale. This has left the association with no alternative, especially since the office announced that the waiver process would be shut down as of today.
The three essentials to life are food, clothing and shelter. The governor is preventing Pennsylvanians’ ability to gain shelter. Pennsylvania Realtors® are responsible for helping people achieve that shelter but across Pennsylvania, first-time homebuyers, single parents, doctors and other emergency workers may be unable to “stay at home” if they’re not able to secure their new home because of these orders.
From the start of the pandemic, PAR has asked its members to follow the governor’s orders. We continue to be committed to working with the state and other related industries to develop a comprehensive safety strategy for moving the industry forward in a way that protects the community and those involved in providing and receiving real estate services.
The association’s goal is to minimize in-person services wherever possible and follow appropriate CDC guidelines surrounding sanitation and social distancing practices where such in-person services are necessary to allow homebuyers and sellers to be able to attain shelter.