RE: AAR Board of Directors: Remote Online Notarization and Other Updates

RE: AAR Board of Directors: Remote Online Notarization and Other Updates

Dear AAR Board of Directors, 

On behalf of President Morgan Ashurst, we are writing to share important information that has developed since last evening’s communication. During this unprecedented time, we may over communicate and apologize for that:

  • Governor’s Updated Public Health OrderShort answer- real estate business and activities can continue as they are now.
    • AT ALL TIMES REAL ESTATE ACTIVITIES must strictly adhere to the guidelines set forward by the Department of Public Health:

 “all non-work related gatherings of 10 persons or more, or non-work related gatherings of any size that cannot maintain a consistent six-foot distance between persons, are prohibited. Employers shall take all reasonable steps to meet these standards for employees and customers.”

    1. Be a positive voice within your sphere of influence (your company, your peer group, your association) on the important of complying with the Orders from state and national health organizations- it’s not a choice for our members- it is a responsibility for us to do what is being asked of us.
    2. Work with your local leadership and Association staff to send a letter to your local Mayor to re affirm the importance of real estate activities and how they can continue to be conducted safely under recommended guidelines during this pandemic.
    3. Consider cancelling open houses, and modifying showings to virtual and remote options. It will not support our efforts to keep real estate activities ongoing, if there are widespread reports of business as usual or open houses with people spilling out of the doorways. Be smart, use common sense. A great resource from NAR on open houses is here. NAR is not so subtly advising against open houses during this pandemic.
  • Notes:
    1. Earlier this morning, Governor Ivey and the Alabama Department of Public Health Issued an Amended Health Order closing all non essential businesses. A list of those businesses is in the order (attached). 
    2. As stated before , the Governor’s staff remains committed to addressing this health crisis and doing as much as can be done to allow businesses to remain open that can safely be done practicing social distancing and remaining six feet apart. This a difficult balance for state and national leaders to maintain and will be constantly evaluated throughout the duration of this pandemic.
    3. We have been in consistent communication with the Governor’s staff to be as much of a resource as we can be at this time- providing updates, and information on developments within the state and from counter parts in other parts of the country.
  • Virtual/ Remote Notarization- Update:
    • In yesterday’s Updated Emergency Order, Governor Ivey took affirmative steps to allow virtual/ remote notarization of documents during this pandemic.
      1. Subsequent to the order, the title insurance industry has raised concerns that the language is too restrictive. An effort is underway to expand that language to include notaries and others who may not have an attorney present to facilitate business in the way set forward in Emergency Order. We will update as this develops.   

As we have seen, all of this is moving extremely fast and can change very quickly. We are working on an update to the membership this afternoon. Please reach out to Morgan, Slade or me if you need anything from us or AAR. Stay safe and healthy. 

Warm regards,