Realtors Can No Longer Attend Inspections in Florida - COVID-19 Stay At Home Order

Realtors Can No Longer Attend Inspections in Florida – COVID-19 Stay At Home Order

This is a COVID-19 Update to help realtors, home inspectors, and appraisers determine if they should continue working or not. Please let me know if there is additional “official” information that I am not taking into account in the comment box below. So far here is what I have gathered from government and professional association websites.

What do you think about this question I received on my blog site:

“My landlord has an inspector coming tomorrow. The landlord is bringing the two buyers their parents, the inspector and himself, thats a total of 6 people! Do I have to agree to this inspection in the middle of this global pandemic? I live in Illinois where Governor J.B. Pritsker has issued a” stay at home order” until the 7th of April. I’m so worried, as me and my husband are in our 60’s and 70’s. Please let me know if I can legally cancel tomorrows inspection until after April 7th, when the stay at home order is over.”

Like myself you probably feel defensive for this older couple and the situation they are in. Certainly no real estate transaction should make someone feel their life is in danger! In harmony with the information to follow, I encourage all to not attend any aspect of the real estate transaction in person during government order lock-downs. If the home inspector, appraiser, or other professionals are legally able to perform their service, they don’t object to doing so personally, and they are following CDC safety guidelines, then let them perform their work with no one else attending. I have another article that outlines how home inspectors can safely perform their service. Click here to review the information.

Wednesday evening I was searching for how the new Statewide law that was to go into affect at 12:01 am on Thursday might affect our business further. To tell you the truth, I found information online that indicated that appraisals and inspections could no longer be performed in Florida! Of course, not relying on a newspaper journalist to be the authority ON ANYTHING; I’ve been researching any changes to what is considered “essential business” according to the governor’s order as well as county websites. Here is what I have found on the websites of Florida, Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach. I will post another update if I find validity to the concept that real estate cannot go on during the outbreak.

Real Estate Still Considered Essential Business

According to a Broward emergency order issued on March 24th, real estate and title service, both essential to a real estate transaction are still considered essential business only when conducted virtually or to quote, “electronically or remotely”. From my understanding this makes it illegal for realtors to attend inspections or hold in person open houses in Broward county and of course Miami-Dade county which issued the same order previously.

A State wide executive order 20-92 was issued on April 1st expanding this original order that began in Miami-Dade county to encompass the whole state of Florida.

Here is the wording on the website regarding real estate as an essential business:

  • “Real estate sales and real property title services, provided such services are performed only electronically or remotely as permitted in Section 4 of Emergency Order 20-03” – Click here to go to the Broward Website

Can Home Inspections and Appraisals be Performed in the State of Florida?

From what I have gathered, it seems so. If inspections and appraisals can’t be performed, then real estate will essentially stop. Of course this is not impossible and might still happen, but as of April 3rd, I don’t think this is the case.

The State wide order specifies three types of essential business that indicate home inspections and appraisals can continue. To continue to quote from the Broward website’s list of essential businesses:

  1. Contractors and other tradesmen (a category home inspectors are often placed under)
  2. Public adjusters (These provide inspections of property damage claims)
  3. Any business that employs five (5) or fewer persons, including management/ownership, where the employees do not come in regular contact with the general public in the regular course of business and the business can conduct its business in a manner that complies with the recommended social distancing and other requirements of previous executive orders, except to the extent inconsistent with any Executive Order or regulation issued by the Governor of Florida, the state, or any federal authority;

Here is a quote form the Florida Realtors Association:

Florida stay-at-home order:  Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order calling for all Floridians to stay home except to obtain essential services. This order is effective at midnight April 2 and lasts 30 days. Per the order, residential and commercial real estate, including settlement services, are considered essential. Although members may continue to operate, they are not required to do soA second executive order clarified that the stay-at-home order “shall supersede any conflicting official action or order issued by local officials in response to COVID-19.”

Let’s see what awaits us in the coming days…