Back to the blog

By: Kim Shindle on in

Real Estate Firm Receives Warning for Non-Compliance from State Police

A Pennsylvania real estate firm was notified by the Pennsylvania State Police that they were in violation of Gov. Tom Wolf’s order for non-life-sustaining business to cease in-person operations due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Tom Hosack, president and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices The Preferred Realty, told agents working for the company that they were to cease and desist doing all in-person activities in order to comply with the governor’s order.

“I know there has been a lot of passionate discussions between some agents who felt the need financially to continue to show homes versus the agents who- felt morally the need to stay home. I saw validity in both opinions,” he said. “Fortunately, that decision has been taken away from me. We were notified by the Pennsylvania State Police that we were in violation of the governor’s order by allowing houses to be shown.”

Warnings are being issued by the PSP to non-life-sustaining businesses that continue to operate and fail to comply with Wolf’s order. Enforcement began on Monday, March 23.

“We’ve been issuing warnings first and asking for voluntary compliance, but the enforcement piece is in place for us to issue citations,” said Ryan Tarkowski, PSP communications director. “We’re investigating tips called in by the public. However, we’ve found the vast majority of people want to do the right thing.”

Tarkowski said he has received calls from business owners who have closed their business, but are seeing other business people continue to operate as normal.

“Everyone should be coming together during this time. We understand it’s hard for businesses, but the faster we’re all on the same page, the faster we can all get through this,” he noted.

In addition to the PSP, the following state agencies and local officials are enforcing the closure orders to the full extent of the law: Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, Department of Health, Department of Agriculture, municipal police, and local officials, using their resources to enforce closure orders within their jurisdictions. All local law enforcement has been provided enforcement guidance that mirrors PSP’s.

The current list of businesses classified as life-sustaining, resources for affected businesses, and information for businesses to request a waiver/exemption are available from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.

To report a non-compliant business, contact your local law enforcement agency’s non-emergency number. Do not call 911 to file reports.

For the most up-to-date information, be sure to continue to visit PARealtors.org/coronavirus for answers to the most pressing questions.

23 Responses
  • March 28, 2020 at 7:40 am Joe D’Alonzo says

    Maybe the state police should force the MLS to go off-line for a few weeks so no one can work and violate the governor’s mandate at this time.

    Reply
  • March 28, 2020 at 8:32 am Etta Norton says

    have been wondering why houses are going under agreement unless being sold site unseen

    Reply
  • March 28, 2020 at 8:58 am Nancy Rossi says

    This is such a sad time. My heart goes out to the many who have been affected my this ugly virus. I’m doing my best to Stay at Home but at the same time I am truly worried about the negative financial blow this is going to have on my realtor friends including me!! This is exactly a time when realtors should be able to claim unemployment benefits. Has this been approved??

    Reply
    • March 28, 2020 at 9:08 am Kevin Juliano says

      Nancy – Congress passed a $2 trillion COVID-19 economic relief package on March 27, 2020 with overwhelming bipartisan support.

      As more guidance is released by the Federal government on how these new programs will be implemented, updates will be provided. More from NAR: https://parealt.rs/3dCMy08

      Reply
  • March 28, 2020 at 10:22 am Andrew Wetzel says

    Bright MLS shows a number of houses hitting the “active” market every day although certainly less than “normal”. Some of these may have been in the “pipeline” but most are probably new interactions. While I understand that we can conduct listing conversations electronically and use docu-sign to execute listings, don’t we have to physically visit the house at least once? That means we expose the sellers to whatever we have done and, in turn, they expose us. Does hiring a third party to do a virtual or 3-D tour and hoping a buyer will buy using those media instead of anyone actually visiting a property really serve the public? I am guessing that agents are visiting the house and some are meeting in person. I don’t know but I think we may need to think this through. Thoughts? Guidance? Best wishes to all. Be safe!

    Reply
  • March 28, 2020 at 11:25 am Christa Ross says

    I agree Nancy, real estate agents need to be included in unemployment compensation when our business is shut down but it is also time for good agents to uphold the ethics of our business and do the right thing. We have a responsibility to keep our clients and our community safe and health. Violating this order for finacial reasons doesn’t get agents a pass on the ethical requirements.

    Reply
  • March 28, 2020 at 12:03 pm Jason Pollanti says

    I understand closing can be performed virtually now, but should I be expected by the listing agent to physically go to my bank to perform settlement transfers when this is not defined as allowable under the PA Governors “Stay at Home” orders?

    Reply
    • March 28, 2020 at 1:34 pm Kevin Juliano says

      Jason – In our FAQ on PARealtors.org/coronavirus, we recommend Realtors® connect with all parties involved in a transaction to understand how they are or are not operating at this time.

      Reply
  • March 28, 2020 at 12:11 pm Barbara says

    I believe a self employed person would have to have paid into unemployment in able to collect unemployment insurance. Most Realtors do not. Only Realtors that have set up under and LLC and pay into the unemployment via the LLC on their behalf?

    Reply
    • March 28, 2020 at 1:32 pm Kevin Juliano says

      Barbara – Congress passed a $2 trillion COVID-19 economic relief package on March 27, 2020 with overwhelming bipartisan support.

      As more guidance is released by the Federal government on how these new programs will be implemented, updates will be provided. More information: https://parealt.rs/3dCMy08

      Reply
  • March 28, 2020 at 1:12 pm Carol Bertram says

    Maybe our local multi-list service will waive the monthly ongoing fee until this virus is over?

    Reply
    • March 28, 2020 at 1:24 pm Kevin Juliano says

      Carol – You would need to get in touch with your MLS service(s) to inquiry about monthly fees as PAR does not run an MLS.

      Reply
  • March 28, 2020 at 1:40 pm Jack Malloy says

    HERE IS THE LANGUAGE CONTAINED IN THE NEW LAW RE: INDEPENDENTS….
    ” Unemployment Benefits for Self-Employed
    Self-employed individuals, independent contractors, and other individuals who are unable to work as a direct result of COVID-19 public health emergency, and would not qualify for regular unemployment benefits under state law may be eligible to receive “Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.”
    This excludes individuals who have an ability to telework with pay or individuals who are receiving sick leave or other paid leave benefits.
    The unemployment assistance is available to individuals who are unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable to work for the weeks impacted as a result of COVID-19 between Jan. 27- December 31, 2020.
    These benefits will be administered by the states, in accordance with this new Federal law.
    There is a maximum of 39 weeks of assistance, where the amount is equal to what is authorized under the state unemployment compensation law, plus an additional $600 per week for up to four months. “

    Reply
  • March 28, 2020 at 2:13 pm Jonathan Mendys says

    I THINK ALL ACTIVE LISTINGS SHOULD BE MANDATED TO BE CHANGED TO TEMPORARILY OFF THE MARKET AND NO SHOWINGS OF ANY KIND SHOULD BE ALLOWED. Because some Agents are being Gangsters and just don’t care and showings are happening and sales are happening. While other Agents are abiding by the Shutdown and trying to stay and not able to do showings or sales.
    ALL SHOWINGS SHOULD BE COMPLETELY SHUTDOWN. IT SUCKS. I’m not Rich. I desperately need to make money. But at the same time, we all need to Stop the Spread of the Virus so that things CAN go back to normal much sooner.

    Reply
  • March 28, 2020 at 4:40 pm Cindy Rack says

    I believe NAR fought to allow us as independent contractors and self employed to be included in unemployment compensation for 4 months at $600 a week. I believe it passed. I’m going on line to look.

    Reply
    • March 28, 2020 at 8:24 pm Kevin Juliano says

      Cindy – Congress passed a $2 trillion COVID-19 economic relief package on March 27, 2020 with overwhelming bipartisan support.

      As more guidance is released by the Federal government on how these new programs will be implemented, updates will be provided. More information: https://parealt.rs/3dCMy08

      Reply
  • March 28, 2020 at 5:05 pm Joan Loveless Blobner says

    I feel unemployment benefits should apply to realtors if we are following orders by Gov Wolf. How do we apply for this help??

    Reply
    • March 28, 2020 at 8:22 pm Kevin Juliano says

      Joan – Congress passed a $2 trillion COVID-19 economic relief package on March 27, 2020 with overwhelming bipartisan support.

      As more guidance is released by the Federal government on how these new programs will be implemented, updates will be provided. More information: https://parealt.rs/3dCMy08

      Reply
  • March 28, 2020 at 8:01 pm Tom Woods says

    You can teach a class on Ethics but you can’t teach someone to be ethical.

    Reply
  • March 29, 2020 at 11:20 pm Cher Finnan says

    In terms of the Care act, my understanding is that yes, even self-employed independent contractors may be eligible to collect unemployment but one of the caveats is that the individual cannot be able to work remotely. I know that we as PA Realtors can neither show properties nor have in person listing appointments. However, since we work remotely anyway a majority of the time it could hamper the efforts of Realtors to receive unemployment. The few new listings that went under contract with multiple offers that have come on the market have had the photos taken by the Seller or arranged by the Seller to schedule a photographer. In terms of the offers, I’ve heard that contingency addendums are being executed to allow 30 days to see the property in person. It seems no matter the situation a high demand for housing coupled with low interest rates will still keep people moving in some way or another.

    Reply
  • March 30, 2020 at 9:43 am Debra Linkoski says

    the comment to shut down MLS to stop showings is wrong, as not all users of the MLS are real estate agents. I am an appraiser, and I don’t work for the real estate agents, I work for the banking industry, Lawyers, etc. Fannie Mae is looking to change appraisals to exterior only. I am required to keep doing my job according to the dept of Health (although you get a different answer every time you call) so shutting down MLS is not a good idea.

    Reply
  • March 30, 2020 at 3:36 pm Dennis says

    There needs to be a directive sent from the Real estate Commission to all Pa. Broker of Record that any licensee’s violating the Pa. State directive shall be fined along with their Broker and also have their license suspended. Agents who follow the law should not be at a disadvantage to those agents who disregard the law and the public’s safety. It’s easy to identify the violators from Showingtime Appointment records. Every brokerage should be proactive in forbidding their agents from physically meeting clients and showing properties.

    Reply
  • March 31, 2020 at 9:53 am Joe Ruane says

    I dont think the MLS should go offline. There are tools you can use on there without being part of showings. But I do think along with showingtime they should flag showings and report people that are trying to schedule rather then post this. “COVID-19: Due to concerns about COVID-19 and as a courtesy to all parties, please do not schedule or attend showings if anyone in your party exhibits cold/flu-like symptoms or has been exposed to the virus” I think agents look at this and say. Its ok to show homes as long as you dont have symptoms. WRONG, WRONG WRONG!!!!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *