As you may know, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) updated its list of essential services on March 28, 2020, and expressly included residential real estate during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. However, Executive Order (#2020-21) dated March 19, 2020 and signed by Governor Whitmer continues to stand and supersede CISA’s essential services update.
This has been clarified by Michigan REALTORS® twice this week in their email communications dated March 31, 2020 and March 29, 2020 (verbiage shown below).
March 31, 2020 Email Excerpt from Michigan REALTORS®:
The Governor and the Department of Insurance and Financial Services released a Bulletin to clarify the scope of Financial Services under Executive Order 2020-21. Specifically, we now have clear guidance that Home Inspectors and Appraisers are considered Critical Infrastructure Employees under the Order. This is a welcome clarification for Realtors® and their clients closing transactions over these last two weeks of the “Stay at Home” order.
We have updated our Legal Q&A accordingly.
In the same communication, the Bulletin also reiterates the Governor’s directive that Realtors® [Brokers and Agents] are considered non-critical under the order. As frustrating as this continued position is for many members, it is important to note that the Governor has taken an extremely hard line on continued business operations for many industries. We have been in constant communication with the Governor’s Office and have been repeatedly advised that this designation is not a value judgement on the profession or its role in the transactions, but rather an attempt to limit the further spread of COVID-19 through open houses, and showings. Nonetheless, we appreciate how difficult this designation is for your business.
As stated above, as always, and particularly through this crisis, we will continue to work with the Governor’s Office and Legislative Leadership on your behalf, seeking clarification where needed.
March 29, 2020 Email Excerpt from Michigan REALTORS®:
Yesterday, the United States Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) updated its memo with regard to "critical services". This new update includes "residential and commercial real estate services, including settlement services" under the category of "other community-or goverment-based operations and essential functions."
This update does not change the State of Michigan's prohibition on travel for the business of real estate brokers and salespersons. Michigan's Executive Order specifically cites the CISA memo dated March 19, 2020. The March 19th memo does not list real estate services as "critical". In addition, the active FAQ accompanying our Governor's order listing real estate brokerage and services as non-critical also presents a continued issue for operations
We have been in constant contact with the Governor's office, administrative agencies, and legislative leaders throughout this crisis. While the updated CISA memo presents a new angle for Michigan Realtors® to pursue with the Governor's Office and the legislature, it is important to note that the new memo is only advisory and specifically defers to states for their own regulation. The Governor continues to take a hard line as Michigan continues to experience a spike in new Covid-19 cases. We will continue to report any new perspectives or information
A compiled list of Realtor® resources can be found at our Web site: https://mirealtors.com/Industry-Resources