A Legislative Coronavirus Update

Philip Weiden | April 2020

The Coronavirus has quickly brought the economy to a standstill. It became evident that emergency measures were needed including suspending mortgage payments for those affected, suspending evictions and foreclosures and getting financial relief to Realtors and other independent contractors who have been impacted due to their inability to conduct business, in part as a result of the stay at home order currently in place in New York State.

Suspending evictions and foreclosures for a certain amount of time became necessary when people, particularly lower income wage groups, lost jobs and all sources of income and partly to stem the spread of the Coronavirus. The stay at home order in New York and the closing of businesses require everyone to shelter in place. An eviction moratorium is also a positive step for a short period of time so that people have shelter in a time of national emergency.

The next positive step that Realtors are included in is unemployment insurance for independent contractors. As independent contractors, Realtors are normally ineligible for unemployment benefits. Real estate is an interpersonal business, usually several different professionals meet in person at some point throughout the purchase process to ultimately go into contract and to close a sale. The relief package passed will provide four months of unemployment insurance to cover the cost of lost income. This is critical and could be just the beginning of more relief efforts to come.

Finally, it is expected that mortgage servicers may need bail outs since it is likely millions of people will suddenly be asking for mortgage payment forbearances. Unlike 2008, this is not anyone’s fault; it is a national emergency that no one has any control over. More federal money will also be needed for state and local governments as this crisis continues since their revenue will likely collapse for the next several months.

For updates and important information and resources related to COVID-19, Go to HGAR.com and click on the Coronavirus Resources https://www.hgar.com/covid-19

Philip Weiden
Legislative Affairs columnist Philip Weiden is the Government Affairs Director for the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors.