The Realtor® organization at all levels is advocating on your behalf during this unprecedented market disruption caused by the COVID-19 virus. Read on to see what NAR, VAR, and FAAR are doing to keep you safe and keep your business on track.
National Association of REALTORS®… a message from NAR CEO Bob Goldberg
We have been aggressively working the Hill on behalf of our members responding to a flurry of legislative activity aimed at providing economic relief from the COVID-19 virus. We are committed to ensuring that lawmakers continue to take into consideration the real estate industry, including independent contractors and small business owners. Below is a compilation of the letters we have sent this past week as well as the work we are doing with state associations to classify real estate services as essential services in emergency declarations. We are also working with the Department of Labor to get clarification on calculation of employer thresholds for paid leave passed in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The discussions with lawmakers will continue into next week and we appreciate any feedback you can give us on the impact of COVID-19 on your businesses and communities. We had calls this week with several General Counsels from your firms as well as with representatives from your affiliated mortgage companies and their feedback has been very valuable. We hope you and your families are staying safe.
- Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Congress passed a bill this week that created emergency paid sick leave, as well as paid family leave in the case of school closures, for working families impacted by COVID-19. Click here for impact on real estate industry. NAR is working with industry partners and DOL to understand the calculation of employer thresholds for some of these paid leave benefits.
- Relief for small business/ICs: NAR sent a letter to Congressional leaders urging them to include support for self-employed professionals and other small business owners as well as a follow-up letter on this issue as Congress considers additional relief packages. NAR also signed a coalition letter that would encourage Congress to provide readily accessible, unsecured credit to employers and self-employed individuals ofall sizes to ensure they have the cash to pay their workers, rent, and other costs during this crisis;
- suspend the filing of business returns and the payment of all business taxes to the federal government for the duration of the pandemic; and amend the Tax Code to, among other items, restore the ability of businesses to carryback any net operating losses against previous year tax payments;
- suspend the application of the Section 163(j) limitation on interest expense deductions for tax year 2020 to avoid penalizing businesses for borrowing during this crisis; and
- suspend the Section 461(l) loss limitation on pass-through businesses to allow businesses to full deduct any losses they incur this year.
- Essential Real Estate Services: NAR is working with state associations, many of whom are reaching out to their Governors to request that certain real estate services be deemed “essential services” during emergency declarations. NAR is also working closely with ALTA and MBA whose members are also greatly impacted by county closures of recordation services.
- Multi-family: NAR joined a coalition letter representing for-profit and non-profit owners, developers and others involved in the provision of affordable rental housing. It asks for direct rental assistance for families who have income loss due to COVID-19, it cautions against blanket eviction moratoriums-feels they should be targeted to situations related to COVID-19 and provide relief for property owners in the form of mortgage or other financial obligation forbearance.
- 1031: NAR sent a letter to Treasury to include deadline relief for 1031 like-kind exchanges 180-day completion deadlines. As you know there will be delays in settlements due to title companies and others closed during the outbreak. Also, they should extend the 45-day period for identifying possible properties as exchange candidates. Relief for this program has been provided in the past during other presidentially declared disasters.
- SECURE Notarization Act: NAR is working with other trade associations and industry partners to support the “Securing and Enabling Commerce Using Remote and Electronic Notarization Act of 2020” (SECURE Notarization Act). NAR sent this letter to lawmakers in support of the bill. This legislation would continue and expand access to remote online notary (RON). It would permit immediate nationwide use of RON, with minimum standards and provide certainty for the interstate recognition of RON. The SECURE Notarization Act builds on ongoing efforts of lawmakers to promote remote transaction options for consumers.
- Opp Zones: NAR sent a letter to the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service to include deadline relief for the working capital safe harbor for Qualified Opportunity Funds with any forthcoming package of taxpayer relief measures.
- Open House Guidance: NAR has issued guidance on open houses during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Virginia REALTORS®… a message from Senior Vice President for Government Relations, Martin Johnson
Governor Ralph Northam released Executive Order 53 which lays out specific direction to businesses across Virginia. While some businesses are now required to close for the next 30 days, YOUR real estate business is not. While you will still be able to conduct business, he did stress the need to follow the 10-person prohibition on gatherings, stress the need to telework and offer your services as remotely as possible and, if the need arises to conduct business in person, to do so following the CDC-recommended rules dictating social distancing, cleaning, and other means. Virginia REALTORS® is strongly recommending that members stop holding in-person open houses. REALTORS® should be prudent and show the Governor that we mean business in helping to flatten the curve, or he will be forced to take additional action. For more details, read the Executive Order 53 FAQ available on the Virginia REALTORS® COVID-19 Resources and Updates webpage.
Fredericksburg Area Association of REALTORS®
The FAAR office is officially closed and all events through April 23 are being rescheduled. FAAR is pushing all information received about how COVID-19 is impacting your business via email, our website and our social media channels. Our office may not be open, but the FAAR staff is still here to help you!
Staff Contacts for Services
For questions regarding Membership or Lockboxes, contact
Lori Hillard Wehr, Membership Services Director
For questions regarding Education or DPOR credits contact
Barbara Castillo, Professional Development Director
For questions regarding faarmembers.com, contact
Lauren Zuza, Communications Director
For other issues or concerns, contact
Pat Breme, CEO
We appreciate your patience during this time and apologize for any inconvenience. Stay healthy, FAAR members!