As the real estate industry continues to conduct business during the current health pandemic, it is critical that real estate agents and brokers stay up to date on COVID-19-related state legislative and regulatory changes as well as state executive orders impacting real estate.
The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) currently provides real estate professionals with bimonthly updates on important state issues such as eviction moratoriums, fair housing, foreclosure, landlord and tenant issues (including short-term rentals), licensure (including changes to pre-licensing, post-licensing and continuing education and examination procedures and requirements) and remote online notarization:
– More than 20 states have permanent laws allowing the use of remote online notarizations (RON). Other states have used executive orders to temporarily authorize the use of RON to help facilitate real estate transactions during the pandemic. It is important to know the expiration dates of these orders.
– Many states have altered their professional licensing criteria due to the ongoing health pandemic, including offering extensions for expired licenses and continuing education requirements.
– Many states have eviction or foreclosure moratoriums to help renters and homeowners who are suffering financially due to the health pandemic. It is important to stay abreast of when they are scheduled to expire.
– Real estate showings are currently authorized in all states; however, many states have put in place safety guidelines that real estate professionals must follow when showing a property or holding an open house.
– While several states previously had short-term rental bans in place, all statewide bans except in Hawaii have expired. In the place of bans, many states have enacted guidelines, and some county or municipal level bans are still in effect.
– The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has released a statement on the Fair Housing Act and COVID-19, indicating that it will treat those who have the virus as a protected class. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has also offered guidance relating to tenant protections during the COVID-19 emergency. Because there are numerous levels of overlapping state, federal and local laws at play here, many state-based organizations have issued best practices for navigating COVID-19 as a landlord. Where available, we have compiled a list of guidance documents for each state.
Real estate agents and brokers can also access Hot Topic Alerts (short white papers) on important state and local issues such as inclusionary zoning, the use of accessory dwelling units and rural broadband deployment strategies.
This fall, NAR will be adding to its Hot Topic Alert library by issuing four new Hot Topic Alerts. The first will cover equity in real estate, exploring place and race-based policies that have historically driven disparate community policies from zoning to school districting.
The second will highlight policies that limit property rights in the rental community (including short-term rentals).
The third will cover state and local taxation activity in the wake of COVID-19 as state and local governments address budget deficits and REALTOR® associations work to ensure that the burden does not fall on the shoulders of America’s homeowners.
Lastly, the final Hot Topic Alert will cover infrastructure policy. From roadways to the internet superhighway, these systems not only impact property values, but are the means by which communities are connected.
All of these resources are available at realtorparty.realtor under the State and Local Resources tab. Not in front of a computer? Get NAR’s state and local policy resources sent directly to your mobile device by joining REALTOR® Party Mobile Alerts. Simply text SL POLICY to 30644 and a link will be sent to you to access these resources.
Melissa Horn is NAR’s State and Local Government policy representative.