HARConnect

Real Estate is Essential Business/TREC Extends Deadlines

As you may have seen, Harris County issued a “Stay Home-Work Safe” order this morning, which will go into effect at 11:59 p.m., Tuesday, March 24 and will continue through April 3. This follows on Galveston County issuing a similar order yesterday.

The big question for HAR Members is about whether real estate services would be included as an essential service and could continue to operate during this time. We are happy to say, YES, for Harris County, which includes the City of Houston. The following is the text of the relevant section from the order:

xvi. Professional services. Professional services, such as legal or accounting services, insurances services, and “real estate services” when necessary to assist in compliance with legally mandated activities or to further Essential Businesses, Essential Government functions, or Critical Infrastructure.
 
You may also go here to see the complete order:  https://agenda.harriscountytx.gov/2020/03-24-20StayHomeWorkSafe.pdf

HAR President and CEO Bob Hale spoke via phone during the Harris County Commissioners Court meeting this morning and argued forcefully for the inclusion of real estate as essential. You may see the text of what he said HERE.
 
As Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said at the press conference when she announced the order, everyone should work from home unless your job is required for the health and safety of the community. People may leave their homes to go to the grocery store, doctor’s appointments, pharmacy, exercise outside, etc. At all times, people must still maintain the social distancing standard of keeping six feet between you and anyone else. As they have been already, restaurants will continue to operate on delivery, takeout or drive-thru only. Note that the Galveston County order does not include real estate services as essential at this time. We have been in contact with all of the county elected officials in our region and will continue to communicate with them as they determine what actions they will take next. Things are changing rapidly, so it is likely other counties will issue similar orders in the coming days.
 
Additionally, TREC has waived all renewal and application deadlines until May 31, 2020. You may read more here:
https://www.trec.texas.gov/article/trec-and-talcb-grants-waiver-extend-all-renewal-and-application-deadlines-through-may-31%C2%A0
 
HAR is providing virtual courses to help you complete your CE or just catch up on that education you had been putting off. You may find the available online courses at www.har.com/education
 
This is YOUR association, and we are here to support you during this time. We will get through this together.
 
Stay safe and wash your hands!

Avatar

HAR Communications Dept.

16 comments

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • I read the Texas governor order carefully and checked with all of the links provided on the state links till homeland security and etc.
    It states the Residential service for leasing the residential properties for in need to shelter people and also property managers.

  • I do NOT read that statement from the order to mean that Realtor business is essential. I interpret that to mean that if real estate business is “necessary to assist in compliance with legally mandated activities or to further Essential Businesses, Essential Government functions, or Critical Infrastructure”…I personally am not assisting with legally mandated activities to further any essential businesses, government functions or critical infrastructure. To suggest that by just reading that text single-family home real estate functions are deemed “essential” is a stretch in my opinion.

  • I have sent an email to Galveston Co. to see if they could provide a status on Realtors being essential in Galveston Co; still no response. Hopefully we will get an update soon……

    • As of 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 26, Fort Bend County has NOT designated real estate as an essential service. However, that does not mean you cannot conduct business through online/virtual tours or showings and other electronic exchanges. The prohibition applies to conducting business in person. HAR will notify the membership if that changes.

    • As of 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 26, Fort Bend County has NOT designated real estate as an essential service. However, that does not mean you cannot conduct business through online/virtual tours or showings and other electronic exchanges. The prohibition applies to conducting business in person. HAR will notify the membership if that changes.

  • Could you please include information to the membership about whether real estate services are considered essential in Ft. Bend, Galveston, Montgomery & other counties in the Houston SMSA? Just to be clear and standing in integrity with those we serve. Many of us practice in more than Harris county.

    • Susan, HAR has been checking with government officials in all the counties surrounding Houston/Harris County and we will be able to update the full membership about “essential” designations shortly. We want to be sure the information we are putting out is accurate, so we appreciate your patience. Thanks!

    • As of 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 26, Fort Bend County has NOT designated real estate as an essential service. However, that does not mean you cannot conduct business through online/virtual tours or showings and other electronic exchanges. The prohibition applies to conducting business in person. HAR will notify the membership if that changes.

  • Hello
    I know that all of the services that have been essential have been issued official notices to their employees that designate them as essential should they be questioned by authorities. Will we be provided with such a notice soon as to comply with the ordinance.

    Thank you

    • HAR emailed the full membership to confirm this on Tuesday afternoon and posted notification on all the HAR social media platforms. You may also read about it here: https://bit.ly/3bpzTvp. In the event that you or your employees are questioned by authorities, you may cite Judge Hidalgo’s March 24, 2020 order designating real estate as an essential service under “Professional Services.”

HOUSTON HOUSING MARKET

#MFM: 2020 VIRTUAL ENGAGE!