Effective April 1, 2020, New York State’s Empire State Development Agency clarified that showing residential and commercial properties, as well as back office operations for real estate work, appraisal services and home inspections are deemed essential businesses pursuant to Gov. Cuomo’s Executive Order 202.6 regarding essential businesses. “Essential Businesses must continue to comply with the guidance and directives for maintaining a clean and safe work environment issued by the Department of Health and every business, even if essential, is strongly urged to maintain social distance to the extent possible.” Back-office real estate work is deemed essential, but the government has given further guidance that companies should still maximize telecommuting, work from home, and social distancing procedures. New York State has provided supplemental guidance that although real estate brokerage services are essential, real estate agents should conduct showings on a virtual and not in person basis.
While this guidance permits more flexibility for the real estate profession, it is important to note that Landlords, Co-operative Corporations, and Condominiums are able to set policies that are more restrictive than what is permitted under the Executive Order.
Separately, the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Agency (a Federal government agency) updated its guidance to state that staff at government offices around that country that assist in title searches, notarial services, and recording services in connection with real estate transfers and mortgages are deemed essential. We are regularly in communication with industry partners to ensure we have the latest best practices and technology to ensure for a seamless transaction process during the current environment which rapidly changing.
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