Delaware Association of REALTORS ® 
March 2020
FAST FACTS: COVID-19
Updates for Delaware REALTORS ®  on the Coronavirus
From DAR President Beau Zebley

DAR is taking a number of steps to make sure that our members get the latest information as well as guidance on staying well and working during this period of national health emergency.

License Renewal: The Real Estate Commission issued guidelines today for license renewal. The April 30 deadline will remain the same, with renewal available online. Those unable to complete license renewal online by April 30 will have 60 days from the time the Governor lifts the current state of emergency. CE requirements are online at dpr.delaware.gov, and technical help for online renewal is available at 302-744-4500.

Forms: The DAR Forms Committee is drafting language for additional COVID-19 forms to be added to our library. More details are to come.

Continuity of Business: Today, we also drafted a letter to Governor Carney asking that, in the event of a statewide shut down, the real estate industry be allowed to continue doing business, citing the critical nature of the industry to our economy.

All government offices are closed but working, so you must do business on the phone, via email, or online.

The Kent County Levy Court has made accommodations to keep real estate transactions moving forward, allowing deeds and mortgages to be dropped off for recording at the Kent County Admin building.

The Sussex County Recorder of Deeds office is closed. For those who need to submit physical copies of plans and permits, a drop-off box is available in the County Administrative Offices building lobby, 2 The Circle, Georgetown. Drop-offs will be received 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. For those individuals dropping off documents, all submissions shall include an intake form. Please fill out, print, and include with your submission when dropping off documents.

The New Castle County Recorder of Deeds office is closed to the public until further notice. External customers are invited to take advantage of their online resources during this time. Copies of documents can be obtained by using the Recorder of Deeds Public Access System. Recordings are accepted through the U.S. Postal Service and through our four eRecording parties. Please click here for more information. 

Under the circumstances, we are encountering a number of unanticipated issues. If you discover a problem resulting from the quarantine, or the pandemic, that ordinarily would not occur, please report it to the DAR staff so a solution can be researched and the problem solved.

We appreciate your patience during these troubling times. There are fast-moving components to this emergency, and the issues that confront us are evolving rapidly. Keep your wits about you. Your industry, community, state, and nation will come through this emergency with the least possible harm.
Coronavirus Updates from NAR
Coronavirus Emergency Legislation:
What REALTORS ® Need to Know

Congress has passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201) providing support to American workers, families, and businesses, including the expansion of paid sick leave and family medical leave.

It also includes refundable tax credits for small businesses and self-employed individuals to cover the cost of the leave.

NAR’s advocacy team continues to urge Congressional leaders to include support for self-employed professionals and other small business owners. This was included in the final bill.

Impact of H.R. 6201 “Families First
Coronavirus Response Act” on NAR
Members

Major Provisions Affecting REALTORS®, Brokers, and Real Estate Associations include the following:
  • Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (section 3102),
  • Payroll Credit for Required Paid Family Leave (section 7003),
  • Tax Credit for Family Leave for Self-Employed (section 7004),
  • Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (section 5102),
  • Payroll Tax Credit for Required Paid Sick Leave (section 7001),
  • Tax Credit for Sick Leave for Self-Employed Individuals (section 7002)

Legislative Session Postponed

In response to ongoing concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf and   Senate President Pro Tempore David McBride announced Wednesday that the Delaware General Assembly is postponing legislative session until further notice.
 
Legislative session originally was scheduled to resume on Tuesday, but was postponed last week due to the spread of COVID-19 and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization and Delaware public health officials.
 
As the situation has continued to unfold, it has become necessary to postpone session for the foreseeable future as officials assess the extent of Delaware’s exposure to the virus. While it is possible that session could resume normal operations at some point in the future, there is no firm date at this time. Legislative leaders will continue to examine the situation with input from public health experts and executive branch agencies to determine the best path forward.
 
Rep. Schwartzkopf and Sen. McBride noted that the General Assembly is preparing plans that will be used in the event lawmakers must reconvene to pass legislation that addresses the effects of the coronavirus on Delawareans and state government.
 
Additionally, the General Assembly is constitutionally required to pass an operating budget by June 30, and plans are being discussed to meet that obligation should this State of Emergency stretch well into the spring.
 
Legislative Hall remains closed to the public, with no tours or in-person meetings taking place.
Small Businesses: Reach out to SCORE Delaware for Help

SCORE volunteer mentors have a wealth of experience to share during this crisis in small business survival.

Small business owners need to review the following aspects of their business in order to weather the storm.

  • Manage their cash
  • Review their banking relationships
  • Communicate with their vendors
  • Review any workplace or product liabilities
  • Manage human resources
  • Prevent legal damages
  • Learn what’s available through the SBA and the State of Delaware

Reach out for additional information or request a SCORE mentor on their website .

Also the SBA is administering and aggressive disaster loan program for small business. To speed a response, the Delaware District Office will be managing the applications for businesses that apply. Information is available on the SBA website .
From the Governor's Office
Governor Carney Requests Federal Assistance for Small Businesses

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Monday submitted an application formally requesting the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide Delaware an Economy Injury Declaration, which makes loans available to small businesses and nonprofit organizations in New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties.

In his  letter  to the SBA, Governor Carney said the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on small businesses would likely be significant.

“We know that the public health restrictions we put in place to reduce the spread of coronavirus will hit Delaware’s small business community especially hard,” said  Governor Carney . “We will continue to work with the Small Business Administration, and with our congressional delegation and state agencies, to provide relief to those small businesses impacted during this time.” 

Governor Carney has directed the Delaware Division of Small Business and Delaware Department of State to look for additional opportunities to support the state’s 25,000 small businesses. 
Once the state’s application to the SBA is approved, the low-interest loans of up to $2 million per business will be available for many small businesses and nonprofits that have suffered substantial economic injury as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

They are designed to help with the temporary loss of revenue these businesses and nonprofits are experiencing. The loans may be used for working capital expenses such as payroll, fixed debts and accounts payable, as well as other bills the business or nonprofit is currently unable to pay because of the impact of COVID-19.

Click here   for more information on SBA Economy Injury Disaster Loans.

On Thursday, March 12, Governor Carney issued a  State of Emergency declaration  to mobilize state resources to prepare for the spread of coronavirus across Delaware.

Delawareans with questions about COVID-19 or their exposure risk can call the Division of Public Health’s Coronavirus Call Center at 1-866-408-1899 or 711 for people who are hearing impaired from 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, or email  DPHCall@delaware.gov . For the latest on Delaware’s response, go to  de.gov/coronavirus .
Take Precautions

Growing public health concerns regarding COVID-19, commonly referred to as coronavirus, take special measures to ensure the health of both REALTORS ®  and our clients.

I encourage all of you to limit REALTOR ® /client exposure during showings and meetings, and avoid physical contact. Please make sure to ask if the client if they have been sick or felt unwell. Ride in separate vehicles. Avoid unnecessarily touching anything in a home, and wash your hands after touching light switches, door knobs, etc. during showings. If you, yourself, are not feeling well, you should avoid contact with the public at large.

Finally, some reminders for you:

NAR discusses risks and provides essential information here:  Coronavirus: A Guide for REALTORS ® .

No in-person meetings will be held at the DAR office for the  next 8 weeks . All meetings will be held via JoinMe video/conference call. Please refrain from coming to the DAR office unless absolutely necessary. Staff is accessible by phone during normal operating hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Both the annual meeting for brokers and office principles on April 16 and spokesperson training on April 1 have been postponed.

Please know that we will support all efforts by federal, state, and local governments to avoid contributing to the spread of the virus and to mitigate risk to our members and staff.

We appreciate your understanding and support, and we will continue to provide updates as the situation evolves.