How the Stay at Home Order Affects REALTORS®
April 3, 2020
Dear Alabama REALTORS®,
This afternoon, Governor Ivey issued a Stay at Home Order (“Order”) for the State of Alabama to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. This situation remains extremely serious, and all leaders are doing everything possible to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of citizens and their communities. The Order restricts movement of citizens for all but essential activities. Travel is permitted for groceries, medical care and those working in essential businesses.
Real estate services and activities are included in the list of essential businesses and operations defined by the order that may continue to operate so long as all guidelines issued by the Order and the Department of Public Health are followed and strictly adhered to. Here are several important guide points to keep in mind:
- Not Business as Usual: Being deemed an essential business does not mean business as usual. Essential businesses are expected to comply with all elements of state and federal health guidelines. Failure to adhere to these guidelines can open REALTORS® and their companies to legal liability and could result in an industry wide repeal of the essential business designation.
- Travel: Although real estate services are included in the list of essential businesses, being in real estate is not an overarching exemption to travel wherever you wish for any reason. You must be in route to, or in the process of conducting essential real estate business when traveling. Please limit your travel as much as possible and conduct as much business as possible through virtual means.
- Enforcement of Order: Governor Ivey and Attorney General Steve Marshall have made clear that local law enforcement is empowered to enforce the Order within each jurisdiction. Criminal violations of the Order will be enforced and are punishable by fines up to $500 and/or jail. Please be respectful and mindful of law enforcement’s efforts to enforce the Order. Please take a deep breath and be patient as they work to keep our communities safe.
- Identification and Real Estate Credentials: If you travel, you should have in your possession your driver’s license, a copy of your real estate license and business card to help identify yourself and purpose for travel. Again, please be patient and respectful if you are asked to provide this information by law enforcement or local officials.
- Public Health Guidelines: At all times, real estate activities must strictly adhere to the guidelines set forward by the CDC and the Department of Public Health.
- Local Government: Some local governments have established their own orders. Be sure you are aware of those guidelines.
- Business Operations: Please conduct as much business as possible using remote and virtual means for the duration of the pandemic; please discontinue open houses and modify showings to remote and virtual means. Do not share the same automobile with peers or clients.
- Remote and Online Notarization: Governor Ivey also issued an updated Order on April 2 to allow remote and online notarization to allow as much business as possible to continue using remote and virtual means.
- Moratorium on Evictions and Foreclosures: Governor Ivey also issued an updated Order on April 3, granting temporary relief from residential evictions and foreclosures during the pandemic. Nothing in the order shall be construed as relieving any individual of the obligation to pay rent, make mortgage payments or any other obligations.
- Leadership: As REALTORS®, you are leaders in your community. Be a positive voice within your company and community on the importance of complying with the orders from state and national leaders.
We will have further information and legal FAQs in next week’s Real Estate Alabama. Please also frequently check AAR’s COVID-19 resource page as well as NAR’s COVID-19 resource page for consistent updates as developments occur.
Please be safe and put the health and safety of you and your family first. May God bless you and your family during this time.