Covid-19 Impacts to Business

CLICK HERE for a quick reference to Small Business Coronavirus Resources for REALTORS®

Spokane County, Washington State and the Federal Government have initiated emergency programs that can help businesses and individuals affected by the Coronavirus Quarantines.

May 27, 2020

Governor Inslee orders Washington’s Labor and Industry to enforce emergency rules to cite and fine businesses who do not meet pandemic closure orders. Fines are $10,000 or more for violations.

CLICK HERE to read the order

May 22, 2020

The Washington State Department of Health cleared Spokane County to move to Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Safe Start reopening plan. With this move are new guidelines in place for real estate operations.

CLICK HERE for the Governor’s memorandum

CLICK HERE for Phase 2 Operations Guidelines for REALTORS®

May 20, 2020

Washington REALTORS has issued new guidance for reopening under Phase 2

CLICK HERE for details

May 19, 2020

Gov. Inslee announces that Spokane County will be eligible for early Phase Two opening.

CLICK HERE for professional standards needed for reopening

May 18, 2020

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has released the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Forgiveness Application and detailed instructions for the application.

The form and instructions inform borrowers how to apply for forgiveness of their PPP loans, consistent with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).  SBA will also soon issue regulations and guidance to further assist borrowers as they complete their applications, and to provide lenders with guidance on their responsibilities.

CLICK HERE for more details

May 14, 20020

REALTORS® are set to resume full activity June 1st under Gov. Inslee’s Phase Two reopening of the economy. A petition to reopen earlier by the Spokane County Health Department and Spokane County Commissioners has been rejected by the Governor’s office.

CLICK HERE for the governor’s guidance on reopening professional services

CLICK HERE for NAR’s Workplace Re-entry Guidelines

May 5, 2020

CLICK HERE to learn more

May 1, 2020

Governor Inslee announces a four phase approach to reopening the economy. Phase Two has language that includes all other real estate activity including commercial real estate, the re-opening of real estate offices, and services such as sign installation. Phase 2 also allows gatherings outside your residence for up to 5 people, which presumably would apply to parts of the real estate transaction such as showings, appraisals notarizations, and other related real estate activities. More guidance on this phase is expected soon.

CLICK HERE for more information

April 30, 2020

Spokane County agrees to resume Building and Sewer Inspections following the Governor’s agreement to restart construction.

CLICK HERE for a copy of the announcement

April 24, 2020

Governor Inslee is lifts the quarantine order for some Residential Construction projects.

CLICK HERE for a look at the phase 1 requirements

April 23, 2020

NAR has put together a great resource page to help REALTORS® maintain financial stability.

CLICK HERE to learn more

April 21, 2020

Washington Governor Jay Inslee issues his outline for allowing Washington to return to work. There are no specifics listed, but this does outline the steps that will be taken next.

CLICK HERE to see the Governor’s Recovery Plan

April 20, 20020

The WA Employment Security Department has opened the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)  program for independent contractors and self-employed workers. REALTORS® who may seek PUA should create a Secure Access Washington (SAW) account, and watch ESD’s new tutorial.

You can find materials on ESD’s Unemployment Page now. Including:

  • An application checklist to help you prepare
  • An eligibility checker to help understand who is eligible

April 16, 2020

Inslee expands eviction moratorium and adds additional protections for residential and some commercial tenants

Among the changes:

  • Prohibits landlords from assessing or threatening to assess late fees or other charges for non-payment.
  • Prohibits landlords from increasing rents or deposits for residential and commercial unit
  • Prohibits landlords from treating unpaid rent and charges as an enforceable debt, unless the landlord demonstrates the resident was offered a reasonable repayment plan

CLICK HERE for the Governor’s order

April 15th, 2020

Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward – speaking to the SAR Governmental Affairs committee revealed plans for a new Spokane based loan program for small businesses. Loans will be between $10,000-25,000.

Additionally:

  • Program in the works to provide enter and mortgage assistance – may include Landlord relief as well
  • Mayor joined other mayors in asking the Governor for residential housing to resume
  • Concern is that this delay will set housing construction back by 12 to 16 weeks
  • Hope is that parks, golf courses will be able to reopen soon

April 14th, 2020

Unemployment Insurance for Independent Contractors: The Washington State Employment Security Department will begin accepting Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) applications on April 20th, but may wish to apply now. REALTORS® who will be fully or partially unemployed because of the COVID-19 crisis and are interested in seeking PUA benefits should apply NOW for regular unemployment. BE ADVISED: Once you apply – you will be initially denied. But your application will then be first in line when the PUA program opens up. You’ll be able to claim benefits whether you’re fully or partially unemployed because of the COVID-19 crisis.

CLICK HERE to begin the application process

April 13, 2020

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee joins with the governors from California and Oregon to declare a West coast pact to use a shared approach for reopening our economies – one that identifies clear indicators for communities to restart public life and business.

CLICK HERE   to read the joint statement from all three governors.

April 10, 2020

IRS Extends Key Tax Deadlines

New guidance from the IRS grants deadline relief in two critical areas:

  • 1031 Like-kind exchanges.  If an investor has taken the first step of a like-kind exchange by selling the old property, and either the 45-day or the 180-day deadline falls between April 1 and July 15, the deadline has been extended to July 15.
  • Opportunity Zones.  If an investor who sold a capital asset planned to roll over the gain into an Opportunity Fund and the 180-day deadline to do so falls between April 1 and July 15, 2020, the investment can be made as late as July 15.

Additionally, sole proprietors who pay quarterly estimated taxes now have until July 15 to file their second quarter payment.  As a result of an earlier IRS notice, first quarter estimated tax payments had already been extended to July 15.  This means that any individual or corporation that has a quarterly estimated tax payment due on or after April 1, 2020, and before July 15, 2020, can wait until July 15 to make that payment, without penalty

CLICK HERE for more information

April 9, 2020

REMINDER: Spokane County Property Taxes Relief – payment deadline moved from April 30th to June 15th

CLICK HERE to learn more

April 8, 2020

New Washington Small Business emergency Grant available for up to $10,000 in emergency funding

Governor Inslee is offering a new Working Washington Small Business Emergency Grant program to assist small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. Small businesses that qualify for the grant program will submit applications through their local county/regional economic development organizations.
CLICK HERE for more information

April 6, 2020

The IRS has issued new guidance over who is eligible for the upcoming economic impact payment and other tax guidelines

  • Tax filers with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 for individuals and up to $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns will receive the full payment of $1,200
  • Parents also receive $500 for each qualifying child 17 and under
  • College students are not eligible
  • Social Security recipients will be receiving a check even if they don’t file an income tax return
  • Deadlines for filing taxes for both individuals and companies have changed

CLICK HERE for more information

April 3, 2020

Unemployment Compensation delayed for REALTORS® and Independent Contractors

Under the Federal Pandemic Unemployment provisions of the Coronavirus Stimulus package – independent contractors are eligible for compensation. But states are responsible for developing guidelines for implementation. As such, the Washington Employment Security Department (ESD) is asking independent contractors to wait for a few weeks.

From ESD: “If you were not eligible for unemployment before the federal stimulus package was passed, we are asking you to wait to file for unemployment because our system is not set up to accept your application. We expect those changes to be complete by mid-April, and the team is working around the clock to get them in place as quickly as possible”
CLICK HERE if you are interested in getting updates from ESD

April 2, 2020

The federal Small Business Administration (SBA) will be accepting applications for two key programs that affect REALTORS®

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) – This loan is made through a local SBA participating lender. (CLICK HERE  for a list of Spokane Area lenders) It’s designed to cover expenses for a business during any 8-week period between February 15, 2020 and June 30, 2020. They can be used for payroll costs, rents, mortgage interest, and utilities. If a business owner maintains a certain level of payroll expenses and employee numbers during that 8-week period, the loan is 100% forgiven; as employees go below those levels, the forgivable amount is phased out. APPLY HERE

Economic Injury Disaster Loan Assistance – Low-interest loans for small business that experience an economic hardship as the result of a declared disaster. Unlike other disaster loan programs, they do not require physical damage to a business. Part of this loan may be forgiven. APPLY HERE

CLICK HERE  for more information from NAR

April 1, 2020

Photographers and Stagers now allowed into homes for REALTOR® related services

Information concerning real estate services indicates that professional photography for listings is now permitted.
Creating virtual tours is an effective way to allow buyers to view the property without the need for an in-person showing.

Like all other in-person activities, staging activities must be by appointment, a total of no more than two people may be at property at any one time, and those two people must adhere to strict social distancing guidelines established by the CDC.

CLICK HERE for more details

March 31, 2020

Update on Unemployment for Independent Contractors

The Washington Employment Security Department (“ESD”) is currently in the process of establishing its online system to accept applications for unemployment benefits from independent contractors under the CARES Act, the federal law to provide economic stimulus in response to COVID-19. Under the CARES Act, independent contractors and the self-employed can receive Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (“PUA”), which will be administered by ESD in Washington State. ESD estimates that updates to its online application system will allow for applications from independent contractors and the self-employed by mid-April. ESD requests that those who may file for PUA benefits sign up on its website to be notified when the application process for independent contractors is ready.

CLICK HERE to add your email for information

Residential Property Management now Essential

Property management services for single and multi-family residential buildings (including apartment buildings) are now within the scope of Governor Inslee’s March 28 residential Real Estate services memo. This means that residential single and multi-family property management, including working with tenants, can occur subject to the requirements of the memo.

CLICK HERE to learn more

March 28, 2020

Governor Inslee has issued Essential Business Guidance memorandum that allows REALTORS® to resume work with limited in person activities.

These protocols include:

  • In-person activities must be by appointment only;
  • No more than two people, including the broker, may be at the property at any one time; and
  • Those two persons must strictly follow social distancing guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) by remaining at least six feet apart at all times.

The revisions to the Order are limited to allow the following in-person activities, provided the above protocols are followed:

  • Previews and showings of listings by appointment only;
  • Listing presentations, photography, and creating virtual tours for new listings
  • Inspections for pending transactions;
  • Appraisals for pending transactions;
  • Buyer “walk-throughs” for pending transactions prior to closing; and
  • Providing keys to buyers at closing.

Note: professional photographers are not considered “essential,” thus all photos must be taken by the broker or seller

No other in-person real estate brokerage activities are permitted.

CLICK HERE for more information

REALTORS® Declared Essential by Department of Homeland Security

CLICK HEREto read the official declaration

Key REALTOR@ Websites for information

National Association of REALTORS®

Washington REALTORS®

PAST POSTS

March 27, 2020

The US House of Representatives has passed a Coronavirus Stimulus package.

CLICK HERE for a look at how this will affect REALTORS®

March 26, 2020

The U.S. Senate passed a $2 trillion COVID-19 economic relief package Wednesday night with overwhelming bipartisan support.

The measure now goes to the House. This includes $350 billion for the Small Business Administration 7(a) loan program. Under the terms, eligible businesses (500 employees or fewer) can get up to $10 million toward mortgage interest, rents, utilities, and payroll costs. A portion of these loans will be forgivable.

CLICK HERE for more information

March 25, 2020

There are a number of challenging questions facing REALTORS® – ranging from home inspections, to online notary services.

Your Washington REALTORS® are working to address these issues.

CHECK HERE for the latest newsletter

March 24, 2020

New guidance from Washington REALTORS®

Among the issues being addressed:

  • Pending Sales
  • Ongoing Real Estate Brokerage Services
  • Associated Real Estate SErvices
  • Property Management
  • Remote Notarization
  • Extension of Expiring Real Estate Licenses

CLICK HERE for the latest newsletter from WR

March 23, 2020

Governor Inslee issues a Stay Home, Stay Healthy order that requires:

  • Every Washingtonian to stay home with the exception of essential activity.
  • Bans all gatherings for social, spiritual and recreational purposes.
  • All businesses close except essential businesses

REALTORS® are not considered part of this essential business group.

March 20, 2020 FHFA Suspends Foreclosures and Evictions for Enterprise-Backed Mortgages

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) to suspend foreclosures and evictions for at least 60 days due to the coronavirus national emergency. More information here

March 18, 2020

  • Spokane County Assessor, Auditor & Treasurer will be transitioning to Virtual Customer Service beginning Thursday March 19th and continuing until May 1st. More information here
  • Gov. Jay Inslee announces 30-day statewide moratorium on evictions for residential tenants.

Strategies for Business

From encouraging employees to work from home, to best practices for cleaning your workspace, the CDC has put together this helpful guide.

Click here

Financial Resources for Washington Residents Impacted by COVID-19

This resource offers help for everything from accessing unemployment benefits for temporarily displaced workers, rent and mortgage assistance, paying utilities and short term loans.

Click here

Tax Relief for Businesses Affected

The Washington Department of Revenue has some tax relief options for businesses

Click here

Paid Sick Leave and Coronavirus

Information and guidance from the Washington Department of Labor and Industries on use of the state’s paid sick leave laws in connection with the recent coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Click here

Financial Resources for Businesses

Small Business Loans

The federal Small Business Administration (SBA) may be able to provide assistance through the Economic Injury Disaster Loans program to businesses that have suffered substantial economic injury in an eligible disaster area. These loans can help small businesses meet financial obligations and cover operating expenses.While Spokane County is not yet listed under those counties directly affected, it’s anticipated this status will soon be changing.

Click here for more information

Extensions on Tax Filings

The Washington State Department of Revenue (DOR) can work with impacted companies that request an extension on tax filing. The law grants the Department authority to extend the due date for excise tax returns. A business may request such an extension from the Department prior to the due date of the return, and, if granted, the business would be allowed to delay reporting and paying its tax liability. If a business needs an extension of more than 30 days, the law requires the Department to collect a deposit from the business. The amount of deposit required is based on the business’ reporting history and how many reporting periods are covered under the extension WAC 458-20-228 (13). For more information call the DOR at (360) 705-6705

Unemployment

The Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) can provide support in the form of unemployment benefits. For employers that want to keep from losing highly-trained employees, these unemployment benefits can be received through, or while covered by, Shared Work, Partial Unemployment and Standby (which allow certain workers to collect unemployment while remaining with their employers and not actively seeking other jobs). Click here

Medical Leave Benefits

ESD’s Paid Family and Medical Leave program can provide paid leave benefits for Washington workers who need to take time off from work due to a serious health condition or to care for a family member with a serious health condition. Certification by a healthcare provider is required for applications for Paid Family and Medical Leave due to a serious health condition. Click here

Layoffs

If COVID-19 disrupts a Washington business and causes a mass layoff or closure, ESD and its local workforce development board partners can respond with Rapid Response services and funding to help impacted workers get connected to unemployment benefits and re-employment services, including re-training, worker support services, and referrals to other social services. Click here

Check back for updates on this page