The Pennsylvania Association of Realtors is suing the state to win “life-sustaining” business status for its members.
The suit challenging Gov. Tom Wolf’s closure order, claims most states have granted realtors that status and that Pennsylvania’s closure rules are arbitrary and unclear.
“The three essentials to life are food, clothing and shelter and the governor is preventing Pennsylvanians’ ability to gain shelter,” said PAR President Bill Festa. “Pennsylvania Realtors are responsible for helping people achieve that shelter but across Pennsylvania, first-time homebuyers, single parents, doctors and other emergency workers may be unable to ‘stay at home’ if they’re not able to secure their new home because of these orders.”
PAR CEO Mike McGee said that while the association isn’t aware of anyone specifically left homeless by the industry’s shutdown, it has caused hardships for many people in the process of renting, buying or selling a home.
“Certain aspects of the transaction generally require at least one person to go through a home showing, although more are happening virtually,” he said. “Home inspections, municipal inspections, appraisals in some instances, contractors for repairs and even the physical act of moving from home/home; apartment to apartment.”
McGee said Realtors are obeying the governor’s directive, but feel there are ways such services can be handled safely.
“The association’s goal is to minimize in-person services wherever possible and follow appropriate CDC guidelines surrounding sanitation and social distancing practices where such in-person services are necessary to allow homebuyers and sellers to be able to attain shelter,” McGee said.
He said the PAR has not yet received a formal written response from the state on the matter.