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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: April 27, 2020 02:39 PM
From: Senator Lisa M. Boscola and Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill, Sen. Wayne D. Fontana, Sen. Scott Martin, Sen. Mario M. Scavello
To: All Senate members
Subject: Waiver for Real Estate Services
This is a re-circulation of a memo from 4/22/20 with prime co-sponsors included.

I plan to introduce companion legislation to a House Bill that will require the Secretary of the Department of Community and Economic Development to issue a waiver to the Governor’s COVID-19 Business Closure Order to all real estate related activities that can adhere to social distancing practices and other mitigation measures defined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to protect workers and mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
In consultation with real estate companies in Pennsylvania, I feel confident that mitigation efforts and protection for all can be well achieved, as set forth in the industry-driven recommendations:
1) Realtors must follow the CDC guidelines fully;
2) Showings only may be conducted after the buyer has viewed the property online and shows a serious interest;
3) Only the people that are purchasing may attend the showing;
4) The realtor and home buyers must wear masks and stay six-feet apart;
5) The realtor will have sanitary wipes available and must wipe down any doors or fixtures touched;
6) The seller will agree to not be present in the home during the showing;
7) The documentation to facilitate the sale or lease shall be done by electronic signatures;
8) A home inspector may inspect the home alone, and use Facetime or other video facilitation to communicate with the buyer, and must bring and use sanitary wipes for anything touched.  Seller must vacate property during the home inspection.
9) An appraiser can only go into the home alone once it is under contract, and will also have sanitary wipes for any door handles touched.  Seller must vacate property for the appraiser.
10) Title companies will adhere to CDC guidelines with social distancing and the required use of masks, and may get the buyers signatures.  Sellers can have documents pre-signed and opt to not attend the closing.
11) Open houses or other public gatherings are not permitted.
12) Prior to showing a home, a disclosure is electronically signed by realtor, seller and buyer that each of them certify that they are not aware of any personal exposure of themselves to COVID-19.
In Pennsylvania, we have shuttered the real estate business due to the pandemic, however each of our neighboring states, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia and Ohio, still permit this industry to continue to operate within parameters and practicing safety.  Not only have they continued to do so, but they have done so in a safe and protective way – for sellers, perspective buyers, real estate agents, home inspectors and title companies.  Citizens in the Commonwealth need to be able to find housing.  Real estate licensees are equipped with the skills to complete the process and transactions safely and with minimal further risk to the health of the people of Pennsylvania.  This can be practiced safely and applied safely, just as other businesses which have remained open do as well.
Please join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation. 

Introduced as SB1135