On September 4, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an order temporarily halting certain residential evictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

A landlord shall not evict any covered person from any residential property during the effective period of the Order, which is September 4 through December 31, 2020.

Click here to view the CDC Declaration Form

RAR will continue to update information on this moratorium as additional guidance is made available from the Federal Government.

On July 27, 2020, the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) published emergency regulations that create temporary standards for employers during the COVID-19 pandemic. These standards apply to all employers in Virginia and will have an impact on local associations and real estate firms with staff.

The regulations create classifications of risk category from Very High Risk to Lower Risk. While most office workers will fall into the Lower Risk category, certain situations or settings could elevate individuals into the Medium Risk category. These situations include the operation of a retail store or in-person contact with others or providing services in customer, premises such as homes or businesses.

Certain requirements apply to all employers, such as conducting a hazard assessment and training for employees on risk reduction strategies, and others that only apply to certain employers, such as the development and implementation of an Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Plan. DOLI has resources available on their website to help in developing mandatory policies and training. These resources include a high-level “Nine Steps to Achieve COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard Compliance“, a hazard assessment template, and an infectious disease plan template.

Virginia REALTORS® has also created a more detailed document to assist you in determining the appropriate risk level to categorize employees, as well as check lists of tasks and policies that must be created.

All employers must provide initial training or basic written information on COVID-19 hazards and measure to minimize exposure by August 26, 2020. Employers that must develop an Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Plan – employers with medium risk jobs and more than 10 employees – must do so and train employees on the plan no later than September 25, 2020.

In the guidelines for Phase II of the reopening of Virginia, Governor Northam is allowing social gatherings of up to 50 people. All localities within the region will enter Phase II on Friday, June 5, except the City of Richmond.

REALTORS® can hold public open houses in localities that have entered Phase II as long as there are not 50 people present at any given time and safe social distancing practices are followed. For guidance on how to conduct a safe open house, visit the Virginia Department of Health’s website with information for Real Estate Professionals.

Below are some best practices recommended for showing a listed property at this time:

  • Limit the number of people who enter a property to 50 including yourself
  • Maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet between individuals
  • Offer virtual Open Houses online either live or recorded
  • Limiting in-person interaction with clients and/or other REALTORS to only that which is essential and doing so under the CDC-recommended guidelines
  • Follow all showing instructions including those concerning personal protective equipment such as face masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer

Thank you for your consideration and adherence to the Governor’s Emergency orders. Working together benefits everyone.

5/7/20: Watch video from RAR and CVR MLS legal counsel, Michael Lafayette answering some frequently asked questions

4/23/20: Watch video from RAR and CVR MLS legal counsel, Michael Lafayette answering some frequently asked questions

4/9/20: Watch video from RAR and CVR MLS legal counsel, Michael Lafayette answering some frequently asked questions

4/2/20: Watch video from RAR and CVR MLS legal counsel, Michael Lafayette answering some frequently asked questions

4/2/20: Watch video from RAR and CVR MLS legal counsel, Michael Lafayette regarding Indemnity Waivers and Hold Harmless Provisions

3/26/20: Watch video from RAR and CVR MLS legal counsel, Michael Lafayette answering some frequently asked questions

3/26/20: Watch video from RAR and CVR MLS legal counsel, Michael Lafayette regarding the CVR MLS Purchase Agreement

3/19/20: Watch video from RAR and CVR MLS legal counsel, Michael Lafayette regarding Transactions and New Addendums

SBA Programs & Unemployment for REALTORS® during the COVID-19 Crisis:

SBA Loans Infographic

 

  1. Do I apply for unemployment or a Small Business Administration program?
    1. Thanks to NAR’s advocacy efforts on the CARES Act, you may be eligible for both. Check with your lawyer or CPA to figure out how you should proceed.
  2. How do I apply for unemployment?
    1. In Virginia, the program is administered by the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC). Under the CARES Act, workers who previously are ineligible for traditional unemployment (independent contractors and self-employed workers), can now apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). The VEC is working to implement this new program as quickly as possible. To apply for PUA, VEC is directing independent contractors and self employed people who are unable to work or have seen income reductions because of COVID-19 to submit a traditional unemployment application. After receiving a denial of traditional unemployment benefits, applicants will automatically be placed in the PUA queue. Once VEC launches PUA, they will contact applicants in the queue via phone. Continue checking the VEC site for updates.
  3. What programs are offered by the Small Business Administration (SBA)?
    1. The SBA offers two programs for small businesses effected by COVID-19:
      1. The SBA 7(a), also known as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
        1. The PPP is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. This program is for any small business with less than 500 employees (including sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed persons) affected by COVID-19. Small businesses and sole proprietorships can begin applying on April 3, 2020. Independent contractors and self-employed individuals can begin applying on April 10, 2020. The SBA advises that all businesses should apply as quickly as possible because there is a funding cap. For more information visit the SBA’s PPP site.
      2. The SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program and EIDL grants
        1. The EIDL program provides small business with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide economic support to small business to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. Funds will be made available within three days of a successful application, and this loan advance will not have to be repaid. Visit the SBA Disaster Loan Assistance site for more information.

Brokers Cannot Include Payments to Independent Contractors

Latest Guidance from SBA

Page 11, item h notes that commissions to independent contractors cannot be included in calculating payroll costs for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. Independent contractors will be able to apply for their own PPP loan starting April 1o (Latest guidance as of April 3rd). Please note that SBA guidance is evolving. CPAs and lawyers are the subject matter experts to seek out for advice. 

We encourage you to review the full document linked above. It covers the CARES Act, PPP eligibility requirements, how to apply for the PPP loan, and answers some important questions that impact Realtors.

Submit a question via Microsoft forms below related to COVID-19 for staff or legal counsel. Your submissions will be utilized for our weekly COVID-19 REALTOR Update Videos. You may not receive an individual response.

Regular membership questions should go to membership@RARealtors.com.

Click for MLS support.

The following forms are live in Instanet:

  • CVR 180 – COVID-19 Addendum
  • CVR 181 – Notice of Quarantine
  • CVR 182 – Notice to Proceed to Settlement

It has come to the attention of CVR MLS that some brokers and agents are creating “hold harmless” forms and requesting that other agents/their clients sign these forms to show or inspect properties because of COVID-19. It is the opinion of CVR MLS that such language is of limited use in terms of mitigating risks or shielding one’s self from liability. Nevertheless, if brokers/agents wish to insert a “hold harmless” clause in either the listing agreement or the buyer agency agreement (see also separate language for property management) the following language is recommended:

Hold Harmless Language

Q. Will CVR MLS provide a COVID –19 addendum?

A. Yes. CVR MLS’ Covid-19 Addendum (CVR 180) and related Notices (CVR 181 and CVR 182) form can be found in the Instanet Library.

Q. My buyers still want to go on showing appointments. Is that ok?

A. Please check with your broker for your firm’s current policy on showings. CVR Staff has been told that some listing agents are still allowing live showings, but many have added appointment requirements and scheduling instructions. Some listing agents are also offering virtual or video tours.  Read and follow listing instructions carefully and contact the listing agent if you have questions or concerns.

Q. What if my Seller still wants to show their property?

A. There are many ways to manage in-person showings:

  • You can change your showing instructions to require an appointment.
  • You can block specific time and limit overlapping parties through ShowingTime
  • You can turn off ShowingTime for specific listings

Q. My Sellers have changed their minds about how they want to allow showings. Is this ok?

A. Please make sure that all Showing Instructions and Delayed Showing fields are updated and accurate. You can use the Additional Showing Instructions and Agent Only Comments fields for specific showing instructions.

Q. Can I update my ShowingTime settings to only allow one showing at a time?

A. Yes. In ShowingTime, under the listing setup, you can disallow overlapping appointments by selecting “No, exclusive showings only.”  This can help limit the number of parties at one time.

Q. Can I block time off in ShowingTime?

A. Yes. Under the listing setup in ShowingTime, select “Add New Showing Restriction” and follow the form.

Q: Can I create a virtual showing in ShowingTime?
A:  Yes, click here to see how.

Q: Can I advertise Virtual Open Houses on my listings?

A. Yes; to support virtual open houses during the COVID-19 pandemic, new options are now available in Matrix. After setting up your virtual Open House in Matrix, your Virtual Open House URL will be displayed with your listing so interested home buyers can make plans to attend ahead of time. Click here for instructions on how to set up Virtual Open Houses.

Q. My Seller wants to take their listing off the market right now with everything going on. Which form should I use?

A. CVR 375 – Withdrawal or Release of Residential Listing Agreement (found in our Instanet Library) allows for either a Withdrawal from Market (MLS Status – TEMP WITHDRAWN) or a complete Release of Listing Agreement (MLS Status – RELEASE). If you are unsure of these statuses, please discuss them with your broker or see our Listing Status Cheat Sheet and CVR MLS Definitions for explanation.

Q. If I put a listing into a Temp Withdrawn status, will DOM accrue?

 A. Days on Market do not accrue during the time a listing is in a Temp Withdrawn status.

Q. Can I remove my listing from the internet altogether?

A. Yes; at the direction of the Seller, you can change the Internet Display settings to “No” in Matrix. This will turn off syndication to any IDX enabled sites.

Q. Will CVR MLS continue to provide call and email support?

A. CVR MLS remains open to service member needs by either phone, email, or support tickets (mls@cvrmls.com ).

Q. Can I refuse to show houses to someone who has been in an area with higher numbers of COVID-19 cases?

A. NAR has provided guidance that says you may ask all clients and potential clients if they have traveled recently or are showing signs of respiratory illness; however, you want to make sure that you ask ALL individuals the same question. Refusing to engage with a client or potential client who may be at risk could lead to a potential fair housing complaint. If you are concerned about exposure, you can always take additional precautions if your client has recently traveled to a location where there is higher risk of exposure.

Q. Can my seller refuse to allow access to their house?

A. It depends. If the house is not under contract, the seller can restrict access to their house, but it needs to be done in a uniform manner to prevent fair housing allegations. If your seller has concerns about exposure to Coronavirus, consider withdrawing the property or check your local MLS rules regarding no access to listed property. If the house is already under contract, the seller must allow access as called for in the contract. This typically includes inspectors, appraisers, and a few others. The seller does not have to grant access beyond what is called for in the contract (for example, the seller does not have to allow the buyer into the property to measure for furniture or drapes unless specifically stated in the contract).

Q. If the courts close, does that mean settlement can’t occur?

A. Many settlement providers are able to conduct closings electronically, and some courts are able to accept electronic filings. Speak to your settlement service provider about how court closings will impact your transaction.

Q. What happens if a buyer is unable to attend settlement because they are quarantined?

A. If the settlement agent is able to perform electronic (remote) settlements, settlement can still occur, even if the buyer is not able to be there in person. Speak with your settlement service provider about how this could impact your transaction.

Q. What happens if a seller cannot move out of the house because they are quarantined?

A. As soon as you become aware that this is a possibility, both agents should talk to their clients about the possibility of a post-settlement occupancy agreement. If a seller is under medically required quarantine, it’s unclear how courts would rule about the contractual obligation to deliver possession at settlement.

Q. Does the seller have to do a deeper clean when they move out, prior to settlement?

A. Most contracts in Virginia require the seller to deliver the property in “broom clean” condition. Without additional language in the contract, there is currently no requirement that the seller do any further cleaning before delivering possession of the property. If the buyer would like a deeper cleaning of the property, that should be negotiated and included as a term of the contract.

Down Payment Resource (DPR): Down Payment Resource research team is closely monitoring the impact on down payment assistance (DPA) programs and first-time homebuyers as a result of COVID-19. We will be posting updates twice weekly (or more as needed). Click here for the most recent updates.

Homes.com: Homes.com is providing Facebook Live sessions to engage with other industry agents and experts on how to run your business during these difficult times. Click here for more information.

Homesnap: Homesnap has training resources available 24/7. Visit Homesnap University for more training and webinar information.

Lonewolf/Instanet: Webinar Training Calendar

New Home Source Pro: Is providing weekly “Work Remotely – Virtual Tools” webinars to keep clients safe and in the market …with New Home Source Professional. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar

Work Remotely – Virtual Tools
Thursday, April 16 | 12PM – 1pm
Click here to REGISTER

Work Remotely – Virtual Tools
Thursday, April 30 | 11AM – 12PM
Click here to REGISTER

Realtor.com: COVID-19 Resource Center

REALTORS Property Resource (RPR): Making the most of RPR During COVID-19, every Tuesday in April, RPR shares a few tips and tricks to help you make the most of RPR during the coronavirus outbreak. Click here for more information.

SavvyCard: Free weekly webinars are now being offered through May 12th. Click here to register..

SentriLock:  Sentrilock released their “Best Practices for Using a SentriLock Lockbox During COVID-19”. Click here for more information. 

ShowingTime: ShowingTime remains available to assist clients remotely. To provide insight into the impact of COVID-19, ShowingTime has developed a chart to track showing current activity and assess it against data from the same period in 2019. ShowingTime updates this page daily. Click here to view the chart.

Zillow: These website pages provide the latest news, product updates and resources:

Updating Your Showing Instructions –  Make sure that you are updating your Showing Instructions on each listing as needed. You can mirror these instructions and add showing restrictions in ShowingTime. Buyer’s agents, please be sure to double check showing instructions before going to showing appointments. Click the link for instructions.

Virtual Open Houses To support virtual open houses during the COVID-19 pandemic, new options are now available in Matrix. After setting up your virtual Open House in Matrix, your Virtual Open House URL will be displayed with your listing so interested home buyers can make plans to attend ahead of time. Click the link for instructions on how to set up Virtual Open Houses.

CVR MLS will only be providing lockboxes under limited circumstances. If you have a specific need and do not have any lockboxes in your inventory, or all of your lockboxes are assigned to other properties, you may email lockbox@cvrmls.com. Staff will contact you directly to assist in meeting your lockbox needs. Brokers: If you have available lockboxes in your inventory, SentriLock Support or CVR MLS lockbox staff can assist in transferring a box to your agents for their use during this time.

To submit your MLS payment online, visit RARealtors.com/account or click Member Account on your Clareity Dashboard.  Then click on “Pay Now” to submit payment.

All updates regarding licensure by the Virginia Department of Professional & Occupational Regulation and the Real Estate Board can be found here.

VHDA offers a variety of affordable home mortgages. All are 30-year fixed rate loans. Some don’t require any downpayment; some allow for lower credit scores; and some offer a federal tax credit for homebuyers to help reduce federal taxes.

Click the Home Loan Options eBook below for a quick overview of all VHDA mortgages, grants and programs for homebuyers.

Home Loan Options eBook

Thursday, June 11

We’re looking forward to see you again. Our doors are open to foot traffic. Please watch the video below about our new building procedures.

Monday, March 30, 2020 | 4:30PM

Earlier today, Governor Northam issued Executive Order 55 and reiterated the importance of Executive Order 53.

As this relates to the real estate community, REALTORS® may continue to operate real estate businesses, but must do so in accordance with Executive Order 53 and CDC guidelines.

  • Gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited
  • Open houses should only be virtual
  • Do as much work as possible remotely/virtually
  • Interact directly with clients or colleagues only when necessary, and maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet between individuals

Now is the time to be leaders in our community and demonstrate that REALTORS® will collectively do their part to flatten the curve.

Monday, March 23rd, 2020 | 4:30 pm

Earlier today, Governor Northam banned all gatherings of more than 10 people for the next 30 days. He also indicated that later today his office would post a list of what are considered “essential” businesses. Both VAR and RAR staff have been working diligently over the past several days to impress upon both state and local leaders how essential the real estate industry is to the economy of the Commonwealth. For now, we await further word from the Governor’s office; following that, we will provide further guidance to all members regarding the conduct of your daily business.

Please note: to protect the health of both the RAR/CVR MLS staff and the health of our members, RAR/CVR MLS headquarters is now closed to all walk-ins. Staff will be available to support you online and over the phone during this time. If you have questions related to COVID-19 specifically, please submit them at https://bit.ly/covid19question. Regular membership questions should go to membership@RARealtors.com. MLS Support can be accessed from the Support and Knowledge Base icon on your Clareity Dashboard at cvrmls.com.

CVR MLS will only be providing lockboxes under limited circumstances. If you have a specific need and do not have any lockboxes in your inventory, or all of your lockboxes are assigned to other properties, you may email lockbox@cvrmls.com. Staff will contact you directly to assist in meeting your lockbox needs. Brokers: If you have available lockboxes in your inventory, SentriLock Support or CVR MLS lockbox staff can assist in transferring a box to your agents for their use during this time.

We also ask that you submit payments online or mail a check postmarked no later than April 1st due to the closure to foot traffic. To submit your MLS payment online, visit RARealtors.com/account or click Member Account on your Clareity Dashboard. Click on Pay Now to submit payment.

Be well and stayed tuned to RARealtors.com/covid19 for regular updates, also available on the Clareity Dashboard.

Thursday, May 7, 2020 | 9:30 AM
In the May 6, 2020 COVID-19 Realtor Update video, CVR MLS legal counsel, Michael Lafayette discussed the challenge of preparing a purchase offer for a buyer who has either not seen the inside of a property or has only viewed it in a virtual environment. Below is the language he has provided for use for transactions when the buyer has not had the opportunity to see a listed property in person. This language is intended as a risk mitigation tool for buyer agents. It should NOT be inserted into the Purchase Agreement, but instead printed as a separate document to be signed by the purchaser only and retained by the buyer’s agent.

Purchaser acknowledges that they are submitting a written offer/Purchase Agreement to purchase the Property without having seen the Property in person. Except as explicitly allowed under the Purchase Agreement, Purchaser understands that they will not have the right to rescind or terminate the Purchase Agreement or modify the terms of the Purchase Agreement for any reason after the Purchase Agreement is accepted and executed by the seller. Any right to inspect the Property and/or to request repairs of defects revealed after an inspection must be contained in the Purchase Agreement being submitting to the seller.

Purchaser understands that it is their responsibility to determine whether the size, location and condition of the Property are acceptable prior to submitting the Purchase Agreement. Purchaser acknowledges that seller, listing broker and Purchaser’s broker have made no representations as to the suitability of the Property for Purchaser’s needs.

Purchaser acknowledges that any images or videography provided by the seller, listing broker or Purchaser’s broker or agent may not display the Property’s features, flaws or size, and may not be an accurate depiction of the appearance and/or condition of the Property.