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Boscola Bulletin

Boscola Pleased Governor Re-Opens Real Estate Industry

State Senator Lisa Boscola was pleased to learn her voice had been heard when she was notified this afternoon that businesses and employees in the real estate industry may begin to conduct limited business-related activities statewide immediately under strict safety  guidance. Senator Boscola has been a long supporter of re-opening the real estate industry – last week she spoke on the Senate floor discussing the need for the real estate industry to open - not only as a critical component to the Pennsylvania economy, but it is also a basic necessity for people. She also worked with members of the real estate industry to develop a COVID-19 mitigation plan - many of the points of that plan have been incorporated into the guidance issued by the Governor.  

There are still many areas under stay-at-home orders in the Commonwealth. STAY-AT-HOME. ‘Home’ is the key word. Not every Pennsylvanian has a secure place to call home. I am so glad to see this important step taken to slowly and responsibly begin to re-open Pennsylvania’s economy. This does not just include real estate agents and brokers – this also includes appraisers, home inspectors, photographers, title agents and others all related to the buying and selling of properties in the Commonwealth.

Previously, businesses and employees in the real estate industry were only permitted to conduct limited in-person activities in counties in the yellow phase of the commonwealth’s phased reopening plan.

The real estate guidance requires businesses and employees to follow all applicable provisions of the Guidance for Businesses Permitted to Operate During the COVID-19 Disaster Emergency to Ensure the Safety and Health of Employees and the Public, which includes provisions requiring that every person present at a work site, business location, or property offered for sale, wear masks/face coverings, and provisions requiring the establishment of protocols for execution upon discovery that the business has been exposed to a person who is a probable or confirmed case of COVID-19.

All in-person activities should be scheduled and limited to no more than the real estate professional and two people inside a property at any time, exercising appropriate social distancing.

When conducting settlements/closings utilize remote notary, powers of attorney or the exchange of contract documents electronically or by mail wherever possible. Where it is not possible to conduct settlement/ closing via remote notary or POA, attendance in-person must be limited to required signatories and their legal counsel or real estate professional only, and steps to preserve social distancing must be followed to the maximum extent possible.

Businesses and employees are also encouraged to provide sellers with relevant safety information and protocols for cleaning and sanitizing properties; utilize electronic marketing as much as possible; provide all individuals at an in-person activity with a verbal health screening; stagger scheduling of property showings; avoid physical contact with the property by staging in advance to prevent the need for interaction with items like lights, interior doors, drapes and blinds; and minimize time spent in the property by having discussions away from the property via remote means.

The governor today vetoed House Bill 2412, which does not provide enough safety protocols for the COVID-19 public health crisis. Further, the legislation would have placed restrictions on municipalities related to property transfers; specifically, it would have eliminated a municipality’s ability to issue use and occupancy permits and conduct safety inspections, which are conditions of a property transfer.

GUIDANCE FOR BUSINESSES IN THE REAL ESTATE INDUSTRY PERMITTED TO
OPERATE DURING THE COVID-19 DISASTER EMERGENCY TO ENSURE THE SAFETY
AND HEALTH OF EMPLOYEES AND THE PUBLIC

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Offices of State Senator Lisa M. Boscola

www.senatorboscola.com

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