Real Estate Allowed to Continue Despite Closure Orders
On Monday, July 13th, Governor Gavin Newsom ordered the re-closure or rollback of many of the state’s June reopening measures, and more enhanced shutdowns in 30 counties including Los Angeles County.
Although real estate is currently not on the closure list, it is imperative that REALTORS® and their clients practice extreme caution and implement all necessary safety measures when conducting in-person showings and/or meeting with clients.
At this time there is no change to real estate office operations or showings provided proper safety, social distancing and safety protocols are followed, though please be aware that this may be subject to change.
Here are some best practices to help you safely conduct business:
● Open houses are not allowed. Listings should only be shown to one buyer party at a time, and REALTORS® should leave enough time in-between showings for the property to be cleaned and sanitized.
• REALTORS® should not be putting up Open House signs or advertising open houses anywhere. Click here for more information.
● Face coverings are required during all in-person meetings. Face coverings are required to be worn by all parties during in-person meetings or showings. REALTORS® should have PPE such as masks, gloves and hand sanitizer on hand for themselves and others whenever conducting business in person. You can purchase PPE at discounted rates from the REALTOR® Team Store.
● Open all doors and turn on all lights to reduce touch points in listings. Advise clients to refrain from touching any items at the listing.
● Conduct remote or virtual meetings whenever possible. Minimizing the amount of face-to-face contact in your business helps limit the spread of coronavirus. Consider utilizing remote meeting tools such as Zoom or FaceTime, and using paperless transaction management tools such as zipForms whenever possible.
REMINDER - Open Houses Are Not Permitted
C.A.R. released updated legal guidance on July 2nd, clarifying that traditional open houses are currently NOT permitted in the State of California.
Mandatory industry guidance states: “Discontinue holding open houses and showings open to the general public on a walk-in basis; use an appointment or digital sign-in process to control the number of people in the house or property.”
Currently, the only way to show property is by making an appointment in advance. Visitors viewing a house should be from one buying party only and the number of persons in the property is limited by the requirement of social distancing. In addition, the property must be thoroughly cleaned before and after each showing.
Therefore, GLAR will be discontinuing the sale of open house signs in our REALTOR® store until traditional open houses are once again allowed in Los Angeles County and the cities we serve.
Why Are Open Houses Prohibited?
Open houses are generally understood to be on a walk-in basis without needing an appointment. Appointment-based showings are not “open houses” in the general understanding of the industry and the public. Therefore, to present a true picture under Article 12 of the Code of Ethics, REALTORS® should conform to the normal understanding of the term.
REALTORS® should not be putting up Open House signs at all, because if they are advertising a traditional open house they are promoting an unlawful activity, and if they are advertising an “open house” that really isn’t an open house, they are arguably not presenting a true picture in their advertising.
You should NOT be posting open house signs in front of your listings, or advertising traditional in-person open houses anywhere.
How Can I Show Properties?
You may continue showing properties by appointment only, conduct virtual walkthroughs, or conduct virtual tours. Please ensure that you are abiding by any applicable local and state regulations on social distancing, face covering, PPE requirements and cleaning / sanitization best practices for showing property. If you have questions, please ask your broker.
How Can I Report a Violation?
Continued violations could result in the reversal of Real Estate being considered as an Essential Service. - If you see someone violating the ban on open houses, you may report the violation to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health by calling (888) 700-9995, via email at Ehmail@ph.lacounty.gov or online via the county’s online reporting portal. Should DRE discover a violation by a licensee, the licensee may be contacted by DRE and egregious or rampant violations may be forwarded to the relevant authorities by DRE for further action.
Violations of the open house orders in the City of Los Angeles can be reported here. Violations in Culver City can be reported to the City’s Coronavirus Hotline at (310) 253-6890 or via email at email@example.com.
Check Reopening Status
The state of California is moving towards a 'full reopening' of the state's economy on June 15th.
Check the reopening status of different sectors with California's reopening status tool.
Enter your location and industry to see the current status.
LA County Resources
Los Angeles County has released business reopening guidance for a wide range of businesses. Here are some key documents that you will need to reopen your real estate offices, and to safely operate your business during the COVID-19 recovery. This guidance - and reopening timelines - have been changing rapidly so please keep checking back as this page is regularly updated.
Most cities in LA County are following county guidance, however the City of Los Angeles has released separate reopening guidelines.
Click here to view City of Los Angeles Reopening Guidelines.
Here's what you need to know for real estate:
DRE Reopening Fesno, La Palma, Sacramento and San Diego Test Sites
The Department of Real Estate’s Fresno, La Palma, Sacramento and San Diego exam centers are open with limited seating capacity in order to comply with physical distancing requirements.
The Oakland exam center will remain closed and all exams have been canceled through July 17, 2020.
Examinees can use eLicensing to schedule or reschedule their exam dates. Exams are always prescheduled and walk-ins are not accepted.
Guidelines for Customers While Visiting a Business
Wear face coverings.
Follow social distancing guidelines, including keeping a distance of at least six feet apart from others while inside or outside an establishment, and queuing with appropriate distancing outside stores.
For stores, order ahead if possible and minimize time inside a store or establishment to prevent overcrowding. Understand and respect the needs of store employees to require compliance with COVID-19 safety precautions.
CAR Phase 2 Guidance and Showings
The California Association of REALTORS® has released updated best practices guidelines, FAQs and forms for showings, open houses, brokerage re-opening, cleaning/disinfecting practices and more. C.A.R. worked closely with the California Departments of Public Health and Industrial Relations to develop these guidelines to ensure that they are manageable and effective in ensuring the health and safety of you, your clients and your communities.
This latest update includes (click to view/download):
These resources are meant to provide a blueprint for complying with applicable state regulations. Please consult with your broker before implementing any guidance, or if you have any questions. Brokerages may implement their own, more robust policies. All updated forms are available in ZipForms.
PLEASE NOTE: Always defer to rules governing your local area. The cities and towns in LA County currently have more restrictive guidance in place, and may implement more stringent restrictions and guidelines in Stages 2 and 3 of reopening. GLAR is actively working with local governments and regulatory agencies to determine guidance on the next steps of local reopening.