OAR COVID-19 Updates

As we are in the midst of changing actions by the Federal, State, and local governments with their responses to the COVID-19 pandemic; OAR is sharing the following information to help you and your clients navigate the impacts on the real estate industry. OAR will continue to provide relevant updates over the next several weeks.


Oregon’s New Eviction Law for Residential Tenancies (HB 4213)

(June 29, 2020)

House Bill 4213 is heading to the Governor to be signed into law. House Bill 4213 statutorily extends bans on both commercial and residential evictions for three months, until September 30, 2020. Until that date, evictions for nonpayment of rent are forbidden statewide. The bill creates a six-month grace period for tenants to repay unpaid rent accrued during the emergency period. Any balance of unpaid rent and other charges amassed between April 1 and September 30 must be paid in full by March 31, 2021, and tenants are still required to pay rent as it comes due after September 30. Of importance, the bill requires tenants to notify the landlord that they intend to utilize the grace period.

For a full summary of the bill and frequently asked questions  view OAR’s Guide to HB 4213 Oregon’s New COVID-19 Eviction Law. 

 

 


(June 5, 2020) OAR Guide to Phase 2 Reopening

Today, 14 Oregon Counties enter Phase 2 of Oregon’s Reopening.  Tomorrow, an additional 11 counties enter
Phase 2.  Subject to public health guidelines, physical distancing, gathering size limits and sanitation guidelines Phase 2 activities include: recreational sports; pools; venues like movie theaters, bowling alleys, and arcades; some additional in-office work; bars and restaurants able to stay open until midnight; social, civic, and faith-based gatherings can meet in larger, physically-distanced groups.
OAR has put together a guide for REALTORS® to navigate Phase 2. The guide includes:
  • County Status
  • Phase 2 overview
  • Best practices for reopening offices and resuming office work
  • Showings and open houses
  • Transaction guidance
  • Fair housing
  • Landlord/tenant issues

OAR Guide for Phase 2 Reopening

Additional Documents:

COVID-19 Return-to-Work Flowchart

Daily Sign-In Certification

COVID-19 Employee Self-Certification


(June 4, 2020) Phase 2 Reopening

Governor Brown will be announcing today which counties can enter Phase 2. There are 31 counties that have applied to enter Phase 2, which could begin as early as Friday, June 5th. Phase 2 activities include: recreational sports; pools; venues like movie theaters, bowling alleys, and arcades; some additional in-office work; bars and restaurants able to stay open until midnight; social, civic, and faith-based gatherings can meet in larger, physically-distanced groups. For more details on each phase, qualifications and to check the status of your county visit, https://govstatus.egov.com/or-covid-19


(June 3, 2020) New number for unemployment help

Oregonians who have filed for unemployment benefits through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program now have a number to call with questions: 503-370-5400.

Until now, there has been no phone support for the new program, which extends unemployment benefits to independent contractors, gig workers and the self-employed for the first time.


Buyer & Seller Advisory COVID-19 Updates

(updated 5.27.20) 

The Oregon Association of REALTORS® has created the following Buyer and Seller Advisories with tips for buyers and sellers navigating home selling and purchasing during the COVID-19 crisis.  Make your clients aware of these tools.  In addition to the COVID-19 information, they provide your clients with comprehensive information about the home buying and selling process.

OAR Buyer Advisory _COVID19 Updates

OAR Seller Advisory COVID-19 Updates


May 27, 2020 OPEN HOUSES

Open houses were never either specifically allowed or specifically banned.  However there were—and continue to be—restrictions in place that a traditional, unmodified open house likely could not comply with but that a modified version of an open house may be able to comply with.

Under the Governor’s latest Executive Order 20-25 there are currently restrictions in place on gatherings of more than 10 people (counties not in Phase 1) or 25 people (counties in Phase 1).  In all cases, people at gatherings (and otherwise) must maintain 6ft distance between people from different households.  Additionally, the Governor and OHA recommend that everyone wear masks when in public.  OAR has a summary of the latest orders on our website, with links to further information.

Whether or not someone can hold an “open house” will depend upon their ability to meet the guidelines.  A traditional, unregulated open house would not be able to meet these guidelines because it there would be no way of guaranteeing 6ft between individuals who are not from the same household.

However, an “open house” by appointment only, or where the REALTOR® has marked off 6 ft. distances for people to line up outside while only one family at a time tours home and the REALTOR® and family stay 6 ft. apart may comply.

In addition to the requirements physical distancing and the face covering guidelines, firms holding open houses would be wise to comply with other guidelines for employers from the Oregon Health Authority that may be relevant to an open house setting.  While these guidelines are intended for workplaces, they provide best practices including:

  • Restricting use of any shared items or equipment and disinfect equipment between uses.
  • Ensuring that alcohol-based (60-95%) hand sanitizer is provided
  • Regularly disinfecting commonly touched surfaces as well as high traffic areas and performing other environmental cleaning.
  • Reinforcing that meticulous hand hygiene, coughing into the elbow, and other hygiene practices are of utmost importance.  The Oregon Health Authority has signs/posters that can be posted.

Additionally, anyone considering holding a modified “open house” that does meet the Governor’s/OHA’s guidelines should be sure to work with the seller to include additional safety precautions that the seller would like, as well as to communicate clearly in advance to prospective buyers/visitors (in advertising the open house as well in front of the house) what the protocols are for the modified “open house” so that anyone coming to tour the home has clear expectations. Also, firms holding open houses should direct people to the OHA guidance for the general public.

A Note on Face Coverings

Note that on the face coverings issue, the Governor and the Oregon Health Authority recommend that they be worn anytime that a person is in public and especially where it may be difficult to maintain 6ft distancing.  However the Governor also has issued some specific guidance on face coverings alerting businesses that are requiring customers and visitors to wear face coverings need to develop a policy and post clear signs about any such requirements.  The policy must:

  • Provide exceptions to the policy to accommodate people with certain health conditions, or children under two years of age
  • Take into account that places of public accommodation must make reasonable modifications to their policy to allow people with disabilities to access their services
  • Take into account that requiring people to wear face coverings affects people differently including people of color who may have heightened concerns about racial profiling and harassment due to wearing face coverings in public, and to
  • Consider whether to provide face coverings for customers or visitors who do not have one.

While the Governor’s/OHA’s guidance does not specifically mention it, in our case these policies and notifications related to face coverings are also important for complying with Fair Housing laws.


May 25, 2020 –Governor Brown’s Executive Order 20-25 (Safe and Strong Oregon EO)

Baseline/Statewide Requirements (Everyone Must Follow, Unless Specifically Noted Below)

General

  • Individuals stay at or near their home or place of residence, if possible*
  • Individuals prohibited from patronizing businesses that remain closed or from engaging in any conduct prohibited by an EO or inconsistent with OHA guidance
  • If individuals leave their home they must maintain 6ft physical distance if possible and adhere to all OHA guidance including on distancing and face coverings

*Individuals in Phase 1 counties can travel locally to businesses and events that are allowed to operate in those counties.

Gatherings*

  • Civic, cultural and religious gatherings of 25+ prohibited. Under 25 allowed if at least 6ft distance can be maintained between individuals of different households and other OHA distancing guidelines can be followed
  • Social and recreational gatherings still prohibited above 10 people. Only allowed below ten people if 6ft distance can be maintained between individuals of different households

These gatherings rules only apply to the types of gatherings described above not to work, school, grocery, retails, etc.  These other activities have their own rules.  *Phase 1 counties have separate rules (see below).

Food and drink*

  • No on-site consumption of food and beverage allowed
  • Take-out, drive-through and delivery allowed but must maintain 6ft distance between customers. Must maintain 6ft distance between employees, when possible

Phase 1 counties have their own rules  (see below).

Businesses that remain closed unless/until opened under Phase-1 or otherwise directed by Governor

  • Long list, nearly identical to original Stay Home, Save Lives order

Businesses that are allowed statewide that weren’t before

  • Ski resorts, art galleries, boutiques, furniture stores and jewelry shops
  • Any other retail not specifically prohibited by the order and that follows all guidance from OHA

Businesses that don’t follow OHA guidance will be closed.  See https://govstatus.egov.com/or-covid-19

Workplace restrictions

  • Work in offices prohibited when telework or remote work options are available in light of position, duties, and equipment/network adequacy
  • For any businesses that continue to conduct some office work, a person must be put in charge of ensuring physical distancing requirements are met by employees and by any customers
  • Must comply with all relevant OHA guidance

Employers who do not comply will be closed.  See guidance at https://govstatus.egov.com/or-covid-19

Government Buildings (State Executive Branch only, does not apply to other arms of Govt)

  • To the extent possible, closed to the public in-person and to provide services remotely; if not possible, contact between staff and the public should be by-appointment, when feasible; physical distancing measures must be established and enforced, to maximum extent possible
  • Offices must remote/telework if possible.  When not possible, must designate a person to ensure compliance with physical distancing

Outdoor Recreation

  • Individuals can recreate outside so long as they can maintain physical distancing and follow OHA guidance on outdoor recreation.
  • Private and public campgrounds have option of opening if they can comply with OHA guidance.
  • Playgrounds, sport courts and pools remain closed.

Travel

  • Individuals should minimize non-essential travel and travel the minimum distance required to complete their essential tasks.

Schools

  • Schools/higher-ed remain closed in-person; working on plan for re-opening 2020 school year. Specific guidance on schools for spring and summer available at https://govstatus.egov.com/or-covid-19.

Child Care

  • Still subject to EO 20-19, which requires facilities to be approved to operate as emergency childcare facilities. Summer camps (day camps only) allowed to operate with limitations. Specific guidance for child care and camps available at https://govstatus.egov.com/or-covid-19.

Transit

Phase-1 Counties (All Counties Other than Mult., and Wash.)

Gatherings

  • Local gatherings of up to 25 for any purpose allowed if physical distancing is maintained. Local travel to these gatherings is allowed

Businesses

  • Food and drink establishments can open for limited on-site consumption
  • Personal care establishments and facilities can open for limited services (salons, gyms, etc.)
  • Other businesses may be allowed to open as identified in OHA guidance or by Governor

These businesses must follow OHA Phase-1 guidance, including guidance specific to their sector.  All statewide and Phase 1 sector-specific guidance is posted at https://govstatus.egov.com/or-covid-19.

Enforcement and Penalties

  • EO 20-25 is a public health law enforced under ORS 431A.010 which gives the Oregon Health Authority broad powers to investigate, enter premises, and assess fines of up to $500 per day for violations, among other powers.
  • Violation of the order is also a Class C Misdemeanor under ORS 401.990.

May 11, 2020 – Making Sense of Oregon’s “Re-Opening” Plans

On May 7, the Governor held a press conference and issued new guidelines on “re-opening” Oregon. The Governor is approaching re-opening on two paths: 1) Statewide guidance that applies to all Oregonians and businesses (and some sector-specific guidance) and 2) County-by-county guidance that allows a greater degree of activity to take place once a county has been approved based on meeting certain public health criteria.

Statewide Guidance

Included in the materials that her office posted on its COVID-19 website is new statewide guidance for employers that takes effect May 15, as well as new guidance for the public, for outdoor recreation and for the use of face coverings that applies immediately. The Governor has said she will also issue new guidance on childcare, summer school/camps/youth activities and transit that will take effect May 15 although she has not posted such guidance yet.

County-by-County Rules

Counties have been invited to apply to the Governor to re-open more fully beginning May 15th if they meet certain public health criteria. So far, 24 of Oregon’s 36 counties have applied.  Based on the criteria, rural counties with few cases of COVID-19 will be the first to be allowed to re-open. The status of county applications can be viewed on the Governor’s COVID-19 page. This re-opening will be done in phases with 21 days between each phase to determine if COVID-19 cases have increased. Phase 1 will include a limited re-opening of restaurants and bars, personal care services, gym and fitness centers and group gatherings of up to 25 people with physical distancing and masks. Oregonians from other parts of the state are asked to refrain from unnecessary travel to re-opened counties.


May 5, 2020 – CAT Tax Update

The Oregon Department of Revenue has determined that certain federal assistance to businesses under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is not commercial activity under Oregon statute and will not be subject to the Corporate Activity Tax.
The exempt assistance includes forgiven Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) advances, and Small Business Administration (SBA) loan subsidies. More information can be found in the Beyond the FAQ section of the CAT page on the department’s website.

April 27, 2020 – Governor Modifies CAT Tax Estimated Payment Requirements

On March 27, 2020, OAR and nearly fifty other industry groups sent a letter to Governor Brown asking her to suspend Oregon’s new Corporate Activity Tax (CAT) due to the economic fallout of the Coronavirus pandemic.

While Governor Brown has not suspended the tax, according to a letter sent Friday to Oregon Business and Industry she instructed the Department of Revenue to modify its implementation in some significant ways.

First, businesses that will owe under $10,000 in CAT tax in 2020 will not be required to make quarterly estimated payments during 2020 (this threshold previously was $5,000).

Second, businesses that either do not make April quarterly payments or that underestimate their payments will not be assessed penalties if they make a documented good faith effort to comply with the law but are unable to make the payment or to calculate the payment because of COVID-19 (read the letter to learn more).

The Governor’s letter states that if a business knows they will owe more than $10,000 in annual CAT tax in 2020, and they have the ability to pay, they should make estimated quarterly payments and comply with the law to the fullest extent possible.  Estimated quarterly payments are due by April 30.

Read the full letter from Governor Brown.

Parties interested in CAT tax information should sign up for email updates from the Department here. Before taking any action based on the Governor’s letter you should consult with your tax attorney or professional.


April 24, 2020 – SBA and PPP loans updates

“The SBA plans to reopen the Paycheck Protection forgivable loan program on Monday now that President Trump today signed the Phase 3.25 bill into law. We believe banks already have applications lined up for processing. This means small businesses should start hearing by Monday afternoon that their loans have been approved. We continue to believe the additional funding is insufficient and expect the program to exhaust its commitment by late next week.”

-Cohen Washington Research Group, read more here.

For more info on how to proceed with SBA loans click here.


April 24, 2020 – Congress Clears Coronavirus Relief Bill

The U.S. House passed legislation Thursday providing a fresh round of funding for coronavirus small-business relief programs championed by the National Association of REALTORS® and available to REALTORS® through the CARES Act. The Senate passed the bill on Tuesday.

President Trump is expected to sign the measure, which will clear the way for lending to resume as early as Friday under two Small Business Administration programs, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program.

Under the agreement, the PPP will receive $310 billion in new cash, while the EIDL fund will receive an additional $60 billion. The bill sets aside $60 billion of the PPP funding for small and medium-sized community banks, which will provide extra help for self-employed individuals and small businesses that don’t have relationships with larger banks.

Read full statement here.


April 23, 2020 – NAR Introduces The Center for REALTOR® Financial Wellness

The Center for REALTOR® Financial Wellness is a resource designed exclusively to meet the specific financial planning needs of REALTORS®. This comprehensive program includes education materials and resources for wealth building, business planning, and investing in real estate.

In anticipation of new funding of the CARES Act, send this video, linked below, quickly and broadly to help you secure funds. It features REALTORS®, with different business structures and sizes, sharing how they successfully obtained Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans. They’ll also hear tips on navigating the Small Businesses Administration (SBA) website, what forms to have on-hand when applying, and how to find a lender. Don’t wait-Funding is limited.

See video here!


April 23, 2020 – Oregon Employment Department Provides Update on Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA); Program Will Be Up and Running By end of April; How to Get Yourself Prepared

This morning the Oregon Employment Department released a press release with updates on unemployment benefits in Oregon. With regard to the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)—the new program for gig workers, the self-employed and independent contractors—the Department said the following,

“Employment Department efforts also continue toward launching the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Once open, the PUA program will provide the self-employed, contract workers, and gig workers not already eligible, along with those not usually eligible due to too few hours or earnings, and those who were going to start work but could not, with benefits never before available. Programming, testing, and staff training for the PUA program are in progress. Upon successful testing, the Employment Department expects to open the program for applications by the end of April.

The Department also updated its one pager, which now states that, when the PUA is up and running, it will provide a minimum benefit of:

  • $205 per week, with possible increased benefit between $205 and $648 per week from February 2, 2020 through December 26, 2020.
  • An additional $600 per week form March 29 through July 25.

We have heard previously from the Department and other officials that the PUA benefits will be available retroactively.

While we do not yet know what the application will look like and exactly what information will be required, we do know that independent contractors, gig workers and self-employed individuals who apply will need information on work history and proof of income. Looking to other states that have already launched PUA, some of the things that may be required include:

  • Social Security Number
  • Complete work history for the past 18 months including employer names, addresses, phone number and start/end dates
  • Bank account and routing number for direct deposit
  • One or more of the following documents to prove income
  • 2019 IRS Schedule C, K-1, SE, F
  • 1099-Misc, K, INT (2019)
  • 2019 tax return
  • 2019 W-2 (not for self-employment)

April 16, 2020 – SBA Out of Funds

(Now is a Good Time to Get Prepared So You Are Ready to Apply When More Funds Are Available)

The SBA EIDL and PPP programs are out of funds and not taking applications until Congress appropriates more funding.  The SBA says that EIDL applications that were already submitted will be processed on a first come, first served basis.  If you had already applied for a PPP loan through a bank but have not received money yet, you will need to check with your bank on the status of the loan.

If you have not yet applied we do expect that at some point Congress will appropriate more money so it still makes sense to fill out an application and get ready.  We don’t know when Congress will appropriate more money as they are deadlocked on the details.  The Senate has recessed for the week so the earliest it could happen is Monday. NAR is working on hard on this issue.

For PPP loans, now is a good time to:

  • Find a bank that will be accepting loan applications when more money is appropriated. Many banks were struggling to implement the program in the first round of funding.  Now that they’ve had more time to work out kinks, it should go smoother during the second round.  Contact banks that you have a relationship with and banks in your community.  Senator Merkley has been keeping a list of banks providing loans to new and existing customers.  The list may change for the second round, but it’s a good place to start.  https://tinyurl.com/yazwdckk
  • Get all of your information together and fill out the application

While each bank may have a unique application process, the generic application is available for the SBA and will show you what you need in order to apply.  This page from the SBA contains all of the information about the program and the application form.  This document, which can be found on the page linked to above, contains more detailed information about what information individuals with self-employment income will need to apply.

For those looking for additional guidance, This guide from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is really helpful.  Also, OAR has FAQs as does NAR.  Now is a great time to do your research and get your questions answered about the program so that you are ready to go when more funding comes along.

For EIDL Loans

  • In recent days, before funding ran out, the SBA had begun rationing the EIDL loans and advances, limiting the total loan amount to $15k (rather than $2M) and limiting the forgivable advance to $1000 per employee (or, $1000 total if you are an independent contractor).  We do not know if this type of rationing will continue if and when the program gets more money.  Also, one major advantage of the EIDL program was that it was supposed to get money out the door within 3 days.  This was not happening in reality and many people are still waiting to hear what is going on with their application.  We do not know if the SBA will fix these glitches with the next round of funding.
  • If you are still interested in applying for one of these loans and advances if and when more funding is available, the application is simple can be found here.   While the SBA says it will not be taking applications until more funding is appropriated, you can at least see what questions you will have to answer.  Also, this video of someone walking through how to fill out the application is helpful.

Unemployment Benefits

  • The lack of funding for the SBA programs makes unemployment insurance even more important.  We are still waiting for the Oregon Employment Department to issue guidance on how Independent Contractors and Self-Employed individuals can apply for the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.
  • We are encouraging all of our members who are interested in applying for unemployment benefits to go to this website, review the information and sign up for updates so that you will be notified when the benefits are available for independent contractors and self-employed individuals.
  • This graphic, put out by the Employment Department, suggests that if you are eligible for traditional unemployment benefits (i.e. you are an employee) then you should apply now for those benefits if you have not already.  If you are an independent contractor or self-employed individual who is only eligible for the new PUA benefits, you will apply for the PUA once the Employment Department has integrated the new program into their system.  Our understanding is that the benefits will be available retroactively.
  • Check out OAR’s FAQs for more information on unemployment benefits.  We do not know when the Employment Department will have their system updated with the new program.
  • Keep in mind that if you get an SBA loan and use it to pay yourself income, then that income would need to be reported and would reduce or eliminate your eligibility for unemployment benefits.

April 16, 2020 – SBA Out of Money

As of 8:00 am April 16, 2020 the SBA EIDL and PPP programs are out of funds and not taking applications until Congress appropriates more funding, see details here.  The SBA says that EIDL applications that were already submitted will be processed on a first come, first served basis.  If you had already applied for a PPP loan through a bank but have not received money yet, you will need to check with your bank to see if your application was submitted to the SBA and is in the pipeline, or if you will need to wait until more funding is available.

NAR is reaching out to legislators to ask for more assistance, 2020.04.13 NAR Letter to Congressional Leadership Re EIDL and PPP Funding

OAR is here to assist your during this crisis, please contact the new OAR COVID-19 Hotline to discover other financial resources available. Learn more here.


April 15, 2020 – SBA Issues New Guidance on Loans for REALTORS®

SBA issued new guidance related to loan applications for independent contractors. You can find it here: http://ow.ly/2VO850zfdp5


April 15, 2020 – Financial Assistance in Oregon Webinar

Linda Navarro, CEO, Oregon Bankers Association joins OAR CEO, Jenny Pakula, to discuss the SBA Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program and other efforts by banks to assist Oregon businesses impacted by COVID-19. Watch the webinar here


April 14, 2020 – COVID Buyer & Seller Advisories

The Oregon Association of REALTORS® has created the following Buyer and Seller Advisories with tips for buyers and sellers navigating home selling and purchasing during the COVID-19 crisis.  Make your clients aware of these tools.  In addition to the COVID-19 information, they provide your clients with comprehensive information about the home buying and selling process.

Buyer Advisory Updates_4.14.20

Seller Advisory Updates_4.14.20


April 14, 2020 – OAR Launches COVID Resource Hotline

OAR continues to be the bridge of information between members and government resources that may be available to REALTORS®. Beginning Tuesday, April 14, OAR will offer a COVID-19 Resource Hotline. The hotline is for members who have questions specific to COVID-19, including needing assistance navigating the various financial assistance programs at the state and federal level, including Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). COVID-19 Resource Hotline is 503-587-8884. Hotline will be open 9:00am-3:00pm M-F (excluding holidays).


April 3, 2020 – Small Business Act (SBA) & Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) program launched

Title I of the federal CARES Act contains the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a new $366 billion SBA lending program intended to alleviate disruption to small businesses caused by the coronavirus. $349 billion is marked for direct lending to small businesses. The PPP is modeled on the existing Small Business Act 7(a) program, but loans through the PPP are given a 100% government guarantee, an increase from the current 75% under the 7(a) loan program, and may be forgiven if used to maintain payroll and related expenses. The program will apply to small business, nonprofits, veterans’ organizations, and a myriad of qualifying individuals. Small businesses and sole proprietorships can apply for the Payment Protection Program beginning April 3rd and independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply beginning April 10th. The application is here and U.S. Treasury guidance for prospective borrowers is available here. The measure includes a provision for loan forgiveness for businesses that retain their workers or rehire ones that were laid off. Businesses that meet the payroll requirements would be eligible for forgiveness on the portion of the loan used for costs including payroll, rent, mortgage obligations, and utilities.


April 3, 2020 – Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

On Thursday, the National Association of REALTORS® updated their FAQ page for members with questions about newly expanded pandemic unemployment assistance (PUA) benefits. Benefits must be applied for at the state level, and with the Oregon Employment Department is still awaiting official guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor, members interested in applying for or discussing PUA benefits with the Oregon Employment Department are encouraged to visit their website or contact their local WorkSource Oregon center. While application guidance specific to independent contractors and sole proprietors is not yet available, OAR will continue to monitor the Department for updates and keep members informed.

NAR FAQ on Unemployment


March 28, 2020 – Washington State approves real estate activities along with mortgage lending activities as essential activities

Today, Washington State approved  real estate and mortgage lending as essential business activities. Now it is permissible to engage in real estate sales, as appraisers, settlement agents and escrow officers, property inspectors, mortgage loan originators, processors, and underwriters, and other necessary office personnel including IT professionals, and back office staff necessary to maintain office operations, along with those government workers necessary to review real estate excise tax and record documents. There are still some guidelines to follow, please see documents below for details.

StayHomeStayHealthy_March28thFAQ

Essential Business Guidance – Real Estate Memo


How to Operate in Compliance with OSHA Requirements

OAR members should be aware that Oregon’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) intends to do its part to enforce Governor Brown’s coronavirus-related executive orders. On Friday, March 27, Oregon OSHA released a Questions and Answers Document designed to inform employers and workers about OSHA’s legal interpretation and understanding of their role in administering the orders. It appears the agency intends to take seriously any complaints it receives about employers lacking clear social distancing policies and seems ready to investigate complaints concerning employer inflexibility to facilitate employees working from home whenever possible. REALTOR® offices and REALTORS® are encouraged, as appropriate, to work closely with their legal counsels to ensure they operate in compliance with these requirements.


NAR HUB

Be sure to visit the NAR coronavirus Hub for updates and explanations of legislation. NAR has great guides for Realtors®, associations, and employers.
Featured Guides:

Oregon REALTOR® Guide to COVID-19 Financial Relief for Individuals and Businesses

The U.S. Senate passed a $2 trillion COVID-19 economic relief package Wednesday night, which includes coverage for
independent contractors and those living on a commission-based income. The bill now heads to the House for a vote. Under the bill, Realtors® and brokerages may be eligible for no interest or forgivable loans and unemployment insurance that could provide benefits for up to 39 weeks.

Read a full summary of COVID-19 Financial Relief for Individuals and Businesses. This guide will review what will be available from the recently passed bill as well as previous federal and state efforts.

 


March 26, 2020 Oregon Should Allow Remote Online Notarization

By allowing Remote Online Notarization, Oregon can keep a critical part of the real estate purchase and refinancing infrastructure functioning while also promoting the goals of social distancing and ensuring compliance with Governor Browns “Stay Home, Save Lives” Executive Order.

Remote Online Notarization (RON) allows the consumer and notary to be in different locations using two-way audiovisual communication, multifactor identification proofing and secure document transmission to securely execute electronic documents.

Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, twenty-three states allowed RON.  Since then, several additional states have enacted RON through legislation, executive orders, or accelerating implementation of laws already passed but not yet in effect.  Oregon is now in a minority of states that does not allow some form of RON at least on a temporary basis.

Last week OAR sent a letter to Secretary of State Bev Clarno Remote Online Notarization Letter arguing that under current law Oregon should be accepting RONs conducted by notarial officers of other states that allow them.  We are also looking into the possibility of legislation to authorize RONs during Oregon’s emergency legislative session, likely to take place next week.

We have been in communication with state officials all of whom believe this is an important issue and are working to develop a solution that allows for some form of remote notarization in Oregon during this crisis.  We will keep you posted on updates.


What You Should Know About Moratoriums on Evictions & Foreclosures

The bill institutes a moratorium on foreclosures for all federally-backed mortgages, including those covered by HUD, USDA, FHA, VA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, for 60 days beginning on March 18, 2020. Under the bill, a borrower with a federally-backed mortgage experiencing a financial hardship due to coronavirus may also request a forbearance for up to 180 days, which may be extended for another 180 days at the request of the borrower.

The law allows multifamily housing owners with a federally-backed mortgage to request a forbearance for up to 30 days, which can be extended by another 60 days at the request of the borrower, on the condition that they agree not to evict tenants or charge tenants’ late fees.

The bill also institutes a moratorium on filings for evictions for renters in homes covered by a federally-backed mortgage for 120 days of enactment.

The bill provides a temporary moratorium on evictions for most residents of federally subsidized apartments, including those supported by HUD, USDA or Treasury (Low Income Housing Tax Credit developments).


March 24, 2020 – Buyer & Seller Advisory COVID-19 Updates

The Oregon Association of REALTORS® has created the following Buyer and Seller Advisories with tips for buyers and sellers navigating home selling and purchasing during the COVID-19 crisis.  Make your clients aware of these tools.  In addition to the COVID-19 information, they provide your clients with comprehensive information about the home buying and selling process.

OAR Buyer Advisory _COVID-19 Update

OAR-Seller-Advisory_COVID-19-Updated_4.9.20

View the full OAR Buyer/Seller Advisory


March 23, 2020

Today Governor Brown issued her ‘Stay Home, Save Lives’ order. The order lays out significant restrictions on individual and business activity in Oregon. The order does not shut down real estate offices or activity at large, but it does include specific guidance for businesses that remain open.

In an effort to help OAR members navigate during this pandemic, we have put together some guidance on the following items:

Office guidelines

Working with clients

Open houses

Service providers

Alternative marketing

COVID-19 addendum

These tips are meant to be helpful to OAR members trying to prevent the spread of the novel Coronavirus and comply with the Governor’s Executive Order. They do not represent official guidance from the government and they may not be comprehensive.

OAR Tips for Operating During COVID-19 Crisis


March 23, 2020

Governor Kate Brown Tightens Social Distancing Measures, Tells Oregonians to “Stay Home, Save Lives”

Governor Kate Brown today issued Executive Order 20-12, directing everyone in Oregon to stay at home to the maximum extent possible and adding to the list of businesses that will be temporarily closed to stem the spread of COVID-19 in Oregon. The order is effective immediately, and remains in effect until ended by the Governor.

The Governor’s Order Does Not Close Real Estate Businesses But Does Implement Social Distancing Requirements

The safety and health of not only our members but all Oregonians is our first priority. OAR continues to support the real estate industry and is joining NAR and many other states by advocating for the opportunity for real estate transactions to continue within the parameters of all CDC recommendations. If social distancing requirements and additional sanitizing criteria cannot be met, the activities cannot be conducted.

Effective March 25, 2020 All Businesses MUST:

Facilitate telework and work-at-home by employees, to the maximum extent possible. Work in offices is prohibited when telework and work-at-home options are available for the particular position duty and subject to the availability of teleworking equipment and network adequacy.

Where teleworking and work-at-home options are not available, businesses must designate an employee or officer to establish, implement and enforce social distancing policies, consistent with guidance from the Oregon Health Authority.  Such policies must also address how the business will maintain social distancing protocols for business-critical visitors.

Businesses that do not comply with these provisions will be closed until they demonstrate compliance.

Closures & Restrictions

The order does close certain businesses (effective March 24 at 12:01am) including: 

Shopping: Outdoor and indoor malls and retail complexes, although individual types of businesses not subject to the measures may stay open.

Fitness: Gyms, sports and fitness centers, health clubs, and exercise studios

Grooming: Barbershops, beauty and nail salons, and non-medical wellness spas

Entertainment: Theaters, amusement parks, arcades, bowling alleys, and pool halls

The order also establishes additional restrictions on individual gatherings: 

All non-essential social and recreational gatherings of individuals are prohibited immediately, regardless of size, if a distance of at least six feet between individuals cannot be maintained. Gatherings of members of the same residential household are permitted.

Failure to comply with the individual restrictions will be considered an immediate danger to public health and subject to a Class C misdemeanor

The order also closes state government office buildings to the public, to the extent possible. Services will be provided by phone and, when only possible in person, strict social distancing guidelines will be implemented. The order lays out additional restrictions and guidelines for child care facilities and outdoor recreation facilities.

Read the press release
Read the Executive Order
Get the latest news and information on COVID-19 from the Governor’s Office

March 23, 2020

FHFA Directs Enterprises to Grant Flexibilities for Appraisal and Employment Verifications

Today, to facilitate liquidity in the mortgage market during the coronavirus national emergency, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) to provide alternative flexibilities to satisfy appraisal requirements and employment verification requirements through May 17, 2020.​ Read More


March 23, 2020

Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loans Available to Oregon Small Businesses Dealing with Fallout of COVID-19

The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering low-interest federal economic injury disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).  All of Oregon is considered a disaster area so businesses anywhere in Oregon can apply.

These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.

SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.

SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans are just one piece of the expanded focus of the federal government’s coordinated response.  We will keep you posted on additional developments.

Click here for more on the Economic Injury Disaster Loans and how to apply (the list of designated states on the website is outdated. Oregon is a designated state)

Click here for more comprehensive information on resources available from the Small Business Administration during this crisis.


March 22, 2020

Last week OAR submitted a letter to Governor Brown, Real Estate as Essential Service_19MAR20, urging her to exempt real estate services from any orders issued in Oregon. We know the prospect of a shelter in place order has caused tremendous anxiety within the industry and have followed up our letter with multiple conversations with Governor Brown’s administration and local elected officials.

OAR, together with our partners in the business community, are working together to submit recommendations to state lawmakers considering policies in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. We are continuing to develop additional recommendations for lawmakers to consider as they meet in a special session sometime in the next few weeks.


March 22, 2020

Governor Brown announced a statewide residential eviction ban for 90 days. She says she is looking for opportunities to assist borrowers if they will need financial help during this moratorium.  Read more here. 


March 20, 2020

OREF Has New COVID-19 Extension Addendum 

The COVID-19 virus and response are causing unprecedented changes in our day to day behavior, including all of the potential parties in a real estate transaction.  OAR worked with OREF to develop an addendum which provides for an automatic extension of the transaction deadlines if parties are unable to meet their obligations because of COVID-19.  If you are an OREF Subscriber the form should be available by the afternoon of March 20 or the morning of March 21 in your forms library through the zipLogix, Dotloop, or Redfin platforms.  If not, here is a sample version, OREF 096 – COVID Addendum Secured.  You may want to consider similar language.

There will be situations or parties which are not going to be addressed by this agreement.  In those instances it will be incumbent on each of you to exercise your professionalism and expertise to address the needs of your individual clients.  Parties can always use a standard addendum to modify the terms of the Purchase and Sale Agreement, as needed.  We encourage you to seek legal advice when appropriate.

 

Legal Hotline Can Provide Guidance on Transaction Issues that Arise as a Result of COVID-19

If you are a Legal Hotline subscriber and COVID-19 related issues are coming up in your transactions, reach out to the Hotline to get up to date risk-management advice.  We have attorneys available 5 days per week via phone and email.  The hotline takes calls from 9 until noon Monday through Friday, and you can email at any time.  A hotline attorney will respond with in 24 hours. Contact the Legal Hotline

The OAR Legal Hotline does not give legal advice and users acknowledge that no attorney/client relationship is intended or desired.  If there is a legal dispute, we recommend you suggest that the parties retain legal counsel.  Be sure to inform your client that you are not an attorney and do not purport to provide legal advice.  Any information provided is intended for general guidance and information.  The user is responsible for verifying all information for accuracy and completeness before taking any action on the basis of the information. The recipient may not convey or imply to others any information obtained through this service in such a manner so as to be construed that the recipient or OAR is rendering legal advice.


March 19, 2020

The Senate passed emergency legislation to provide support to workers and families during the coronavirus pandemic.

Summary: Impact of H.R. 6201 “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” on NAR Members:

https://narfocus.com/billdatabase/clientfiles/172/35/3578.pdf

Corona Virus Emergency Legislation One Pager:

https://narfocus.com/billdatabase/clientfiles/172/35/3577.pdf

The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced today it will suspend foreclosures and evictions on Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and FHA-insured mortgages until April 30. Follow all of HUD’s updates at hud.gov/coronavirus.


OAR COVID-19 GUIDE & FAQ’S