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May 20, 2020

Wolf allows limited real estate activity, some property tours to resume

Real Estate Bills
Real Estate Wolf COVID-19 Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed a bill Tuesday to reopen real estate activity in the state, but is allowing certain activity to restart.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed a bill proposing to reopen the real estate industry but will allow for some activity to resume in a separate order detailed earlier this week. 

Wolf first vetoed House Bill 2412 on Tuesday, saying the bill did not include enough safety protocols to reopen the real estate industry amid the coronavirus crisis. A release from the Governor's Office also did not like that the bill restricted a municipality’s ability to issue use and occupancy permits and conduct safety inspections

After vetoing the bill, Wolf said his office will allow for some real estate business activity to resume under certain precautions for counties in the red and yellow phases of Wolf's reopening plan. The guidance does not apply to counties once they reach the green phase.

Under this new guidance, real estate agents will be allowed to give tours of home properties, but tours must be limited to three people, total. Wolf also wants agents to wear masks at every property offered for sale, work site, or business location. It also encourages social distancing at all times and to establish protocols to enact if an employee tests positive for COVID-19.

In general, Wolf suggests limiting in-person activity whenever possible, including using electronic means to sign of contracts and other documents.

Legislators had approved House Bill 2412 last week after a push from real estate agents, who claimed that Pennsylvania was the only state in the United States that had deemed the real estate industry a non-essential business. Because of this, Pennsylvania real estate business activity has been extremely limited since Wolf's stay-at-home orders were  first issued in mid-March.

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