To: NMAR Members
From: James Russ II, President M. Steven Anaya, CEO
Date: March 23, 2020
Real Estate Services Deemed Essential
Today, the New Mexico Department of Public Health and Governor Lujan Grisham declared the current outbreak of COVID-19 a condition of public health importance as defined in the New Mexico Public Health Act and issued an order setting forth certain mandates and prohibitions.
The Order required that all businesses not defined as “Essential Businesses” reduce their in-person workforce by 100%. Through NMAR and our members' efforts, “real estate services, including brokers, title companies, and related services” were included in the definition of Essential Services.
Though “related services” was not specifically defined, most logically, “related services” are those services necessary and required to complete the real estate transaction. This means that the foregoing businesses can remain open and continue to conduct business provided that they adhere to and monitor compliance with the following:
• Minimize their operations and staff;
• Direct employees to adhere to social distancing protocol and maintain at least six (6)-foot social distancing from other individuals;
• Direct employees to avoid person-to-person contact;
• Direct employees to wash their hand frequently; and
• Ensure that all surfaces are cleaned routinely.
The Order also prohibited all “Mass Gatherings.” Mass Gathering is defined as public or private gatherings that bring together five (5) or more individuals in a single room or connected space, confined outdoor space or an open outdoor space where individuals are within six (6) feet of each other, but does not include the presence of five (5) or more individuals where those individuals regularly reside.
OPEN HOUSES AND SHOWINGS
In light of this new definition of Mass Gathering, a traditional “Open House” is no longer feasible, as brokers have no control over the number of people that show up at an Open House at any given time. Properties may still be shown, by appointment, keeping in mind the Mass Gathering restrictions and adhering to health and safety protocols. Before conducting or allowing any showings, listing brokers should consult with their clients and discuss feasible marketing alternatives, such as video tours and other methods to virtually tour the property. If a seller opts to discontinue showings during this time, Brokers should obtain the seller’s directive in writing.
For any property being shown to perspective buyers or tenants that is currently tenant-occupied, property managers should consult with the owners of the properties, to determine the prudent approach during this time. The Order does not directly prohibit the showing of tenant-occupied properties, as long as the prohibition on Mass Gatherings is respected; however, it would be prudent to postpone showings of tenant-occupied properties until these health and safety concerns have subsided or the tenant vacates the property, whichever should occur first. If an owner opts to discontinue showings, property managers should obtain the owner’s directive in writing. It is of particular importance at this time that listing brokers work closely with property managers before showing tenant-occupied properties.
Friday’s NMAR Newsline included a new Coronavirus Contingency Form. While it is not yet available through Instanet, brokers are encouraged to download the .pdf and use the form as needed. Be assured, while your NMAR staff may not always be at the office, they are available to answer your questions via email. Information is ever-changing. We will post the latest information regarding NMAR services, meetings, and New Mexico health orders on our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/NMREALTORS) and our website (https://www.nmrealtor.com).
We encourage you to take proactive steps to help prevent the spread of illnesses, including Coronavirus and the seasonal flu. Stay healthy and safe.
Membership Questions: Barbara@nmrealtor.com or Ambyrly@nmrealtor.com
Legal Hotline: LegalHotline@nmrealtor.com