Oregon REALTORS® 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; Oregon REALTORS® is sharing the following information to help you and your clients navigate the impacts on the real estate industry. Oregon REALTORS® will continue to provide relevant updates over the next several weeks.
HB 4401: Oregon’s New COVID-19 Eviction Law Summary and FAQs
(January 1, 2021)
House Bill 4401, which was passed December 20, 2020, extends the eviction moratorium through June 2021 and creates a $150 million compensation fund for rental property owners, as well as another $50 million for a tenant fund to be used for rent. The owner compensation fund will be available to any rental property owner who is owed back rent, though it will require forgiving 20% of the rental debt.
The bill will require tenants to sign a declaration that they have been impacted by COVID-19 in order to delay rental payments. If they do not sign, they may be evicted with 10 days’ notice.
Read our full FAQ and Guide here:
Oregon REALTORS® Showing Guidance for COVID-19
(November 20, 2020)
General guidance for showing homes
- All parties must wear face coverings at all times both inside and outside the home
- People not from the same household must stay 6ft apart at all times
- Only one party/group should tour the home at one time, limited in size
- Anyone entering the home should sanitize their hands before entering and avoid touching anything
- Anyone going in the home should wear booties
- Keep a log of names, contact information and date/time of showing for contact tracing purposes
- When leaving the home sanitize anything that has been touched, including the lockbox
- Respect additional safety and sanitation measures requested by sellers
- REALTORS® and clients should travel in separate vehicles
Someone is showing signs or symptoms of COVID-19 or has been exposed or diagnosed
- REALTORS®: If you have shown signs or symptoms of COVID-19, have been in contact with a known positive case, or have tested positive do not show homes for 14 days since symptoms/ contact/ positive test or until you have had a negative test and been cleared by your medical professional.
- CLIENTS: Ask clients if they have recently shown signs or symptoms of COVID-19, have been in contact with a known positive case, or have tested positive. If so, offer alternative viewing arrangements such as virtual showings until it has been at least 14 days since symptoms/ contact/diagnoses, or the person has tested negative and been cleared by a medical professional.
- When listing a property discuss with a seller the precautions above and any additional precautions they would like taken. Include instructions in the MLS.
- Encourage buyers to narrow their property search through photos, virtual tours, and leveraging other technology to reduce the number of in-person showings.
- Open houses should only be held if they are restricted to one party in the home at a time and follow the other showing guidance above.
- Avoid use of paper documents; follow up with information electronically
Oregon REALTORS® Update on COVID-19 Protocols
(November 13, 2020)
Today, Governor Brown announced new restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19. Cases, positive test rates, hospitalizations and deaths are at an all-time high and are increasing exponentially. Cases are being driven primarily by informal social gatherings.
The following is a summary of the Governor’s announcement. As written guidance is published we will update this post.
Nine Counties are Already Subject to Following Enhanced Restrictions
These restrictions are effective as of Wednesday, November 11 in the following counties: Baker, Clackamas, Jackson, Malheur, Marion, Multnomah, Umatilla, Union, and Washington:
- The Governor urges all businesses to mandate work from home to the greatest extent possible.
- No long-term care facility visits to protect staff and residents.
- Reducing maximum restaurant capacity to 50 people (including customers and staff) for indoor dining, with a maximum party size of six. Continuing to encourage outdoor dining and take out.
- Reducing other indoor activity maximum capacity to 50 people (for example: gyms, fitness organizations/studios, bowling alleys, ice rinks, indoor sports, pools, museums).
- Limiting social gatherings to one household, or no more than 6 people if the gathering includes those from different households (keeping the same 6 people in your social gathering circle for the two week period), and reducing the frequency of those social gatherings.
The following restrictions will be effective in all counties Wednesday, November 18 for two weeks until Wednesday, December 2. It is likely that these restrictions will be extended even longer (at least 4 weeks) in counties with high case and hospitalization rates.
- Restaurants will be open for take-out and delivery only
- Retail, grocery, and pharmacy locations must operate at 75% capacity
- The Governor is strongly encouraging curbside pickup for these goods
- Gyms and fitness centers will be closed as well as venues that host indoor or outdoor events
- Churches and faith gatherings are limited to 25 people indoors, 50 outdoors
- Personal services providers will be able to continue to operate under existing safety protocols
- Business are required to have employees work remotely if it is possible to do so
- People should wear a mask at all times except when eating or drinking, whether indoors or outdoors
- Social get togethers are limited to individuals from two households and a maximum of 6 people, and the Governor is asking Oregonians to only socialize with one other household during the two-week period.
- Schools and day cares will continue operating under existing guidance.
In addition to these restrictions, Governor Brown and other western Governor’s today announced a travel advisory asking those who have traveled out of state to self-quarantine for 14 days. Additionally, all of the safety protocols that have been in place–including physical distancing, hand washing and mask wearing–remain.
What Does this Mean for Real Estate?
Real estate offices should mandate work-form-home whenever it is possible and should continue to follow strict protocols around social distancing, mask wearing, hand washing and sanitization. Offices should be closed the public.
REALTORS® and their clients should always wear a mask. REALTORS® should only show homes when 6ft distancing can always be maintained between the REALTOR® and the person touring the home. REALTORS® should show homes to one party at a time and limit the number of people touring the home to ensure the ability to 6ft distance and to minimize interactions between people of different households. Traditional open houses should not be held. If an “open house” is held it must be modified to ensure 6ft distancing is met and limited to one party touring the home at a time (for example by appointment only or allowing one party to tour the home while others line up outside 6ft apart). In addition to this guidance, REALTORS® should continue follow additional safety and sanitation protocols recommended in NAR’s Showing Guidance During COVID-19 document. Virtual open houses are still a great option.
Cases and hospitalizations are growing exponentially and REALTORS® should do everything they can to protect their clients, themselves and the community from COVID-19. As has been the case all along, Governor Brown’s guidance does not specifically address real estate. Nevertheless, the Governor’s new guidelines are designed to encourage people to stay home as much as possible and to avoid interacting with individuals from other households. We encourage REALTORS® to keep this in mind as they make decisions about how to show homes and conduct their business.
Governor Brown’s Executive Order 20-56 Summary:
Landlords who were planning on issuing certain termination notices after September 30 must now wait until December 31, 2020
(September 29, 2020)
Executive Order 20-56 (the EO), extending Oregon’s statewide ban on residential evictions until December 31. Executive Order 20-56 extends most residential property provisions included in the Legislature’s HB 4213(First Special Session of 2020) including the ban on terminations for nonpayment and terminations without cause. Read more.
Governor’s New Directive on Indoor Gatherings and Outdoor Face Coverings + and Refresher on Rules for Indoor Face Coverings
(July 15, 2020)
What are new requirements on indoor gatherings and outdoor face coverings?
Effective July 15, indoor social gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited. Also, face coverings are required outdoors anytime someone cannot maintain 6ft distance from another person outside of their household. Face coverings are already required in most indoor public spaces (see below).
Does the new indoor gathering limit of 10 people apply to businesses and offices?
Does the new indoor gathering limit of 10 people apply to open houses?
Yes, but regardless of size, all gatherings must maintain 6 feet of distance between people who are not from the same household. Traditional open houses generally do not allow for 6ft distancing. Open houses should be modified to accommodate for 6ft distancing, such as allowing only one family at a time to tour the home. Also note that if people are lined up outside of a house waiting to tour it, people not from the same household should be 6ft apart, and if they come within 6ft of each other they need to be wearing a face covering per the Governor’s guidelines.
Can you remind me of the requirements already in effect for indoor face coverings and how they apply to real estate?
Effective July 1 Governor Brown issued requirements and guidance on indoor face coverings. The law mandates face coverings statewide for employees, contractors, customers and visitors of a specified list of businesses as well as “indoor spaces open to the public.”
Real Estate Offices and Buildings
Real estate offices are not specifically included in the list of businesses to which the requirement applies. However, your building is an “indoor spaces open to the public” if the public has access by right or invitation, express or implied. If that is the case, face coverings are required in your building for visitors, employees, contractors and volunteers. Employees, contractors and volunteers can remove their face coverings when at or in a location where the employee, contractor or volunteer is not interacting with the public and six (6) or more feet of distance can be maintained between other people.
The Governor’s order does not specifically mention open houses. However, based on the language of the order it is reasonable to assume that an open house is an “indoor space open to the public” and that face coverings are required. Thus, it would be a best practice to require face coverings both because it is likely required by law and because it will help keep members of the public, REALTORS® and their clients safe. Interested persons should read the Governor’s guidance for additional details, including requirements about notice and reasonable accommodations. Keep in mind that, as mentioned above, in addition to face covering requirements, public gatherings are limited in size and only allowed while maintaining 6ft distancing between individuals of separate households. Thus, open house protocols should be modified to adhere to strict 6ft distancing such as allowing only one family to tour at a time.
Oregon’s New Eviction Law for Residential Tenancies (HB 4213)
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
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
(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
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.
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)
- 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.
- 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
- 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
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
- 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.
- Individuals should minimize non-essential travel and travel the minimum distance required to complete their essential tasks.
- 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.
- 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.
Phase-1 Counties (All Counties Other than Mult., and Wash.)
- Local gatherings of up to 25 for any purpose allowed if physical distancing is maintained. Local travel to these gatherings is allowed
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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
- $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)