The National Association of REALTORS® has been responding to a flurry of legislative activity aimed at providing economic relief from COVID-19. NAR is committed to ensuring that lawmakers continue to take into consideration the real estate industry, including independent contractors and small business owners. NAR has urged lawmakers (link is external) "to recognize the millions of self-employed workers of America that lack the benefits and financial aid offered to traditional W-2 employees."

Below is a compilation of the letters NAR has sent, as well as a summary of the work NAR is doing with state associations to classify real estate services as essential services in emergency declarations. NAR continues to work with the Department of Labor to get clarification on calculation of employer thresholds for paid leave passed in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. 

NAR will continue fighting for relief for small businesses, employers and the self-employed workforce, which are the backbone of our economy. 

Relief for Small Business and Independent Contractors

NAR sent a letter (link is external) to Congressional leaders urging them to include support for self-employed professionals and other small business owners as well as a follow-up letter (link is external) on this issue as Congress considers additional relief packages. NAR also signed a coalition letter (link is external) that would encourage Congress to provide readily accessible, unsecured credit to employers and self-employed individuals of all sizes to ensure they have the cash to pay their workers, rent, and other costs during this crisis:

  • Suspend the filing of business returns and the payment of all business taxes to the federal government for the duration of the pandemic; and amend the Tax Code to, among other items, restore the ability of businesses to carryback any net operating losses against previous year tax payments;
  • Suspend the application of the Section 163(j) limitation on interest expense deductions for tax year 2020 to avoid penalizing businesses for borrowing during this crisis; and
  • Suspend the Section 461(l) loss limitation on pass-through businesses to allow businesses to full deduct any losses they incur this year.

Essential Real Estate Services

NAR is working with state associations, many of whom are reaching out to their Governors to request that certain real estate services be deemed “essential services” during emergency declarations. NAR is also working closely with ALTA and MBA whose members are also greatly impacted by county closures of recordation services.

Multi-family

NAR joined a coalition letter (link is external) representing for-profit and non-profit owners, developers and others involved in the provision of affordable rental housing. It asks for direct rental assistance for families who have income loss due to COVID-19, it cautions against blanket eviction moratoriums—feels they should be targeted to situations related to COVID-19 and provide relief for property owners in the form of mortgage or other financial obligation forbearance

1031 Like-Kind Exchange

NAR sent a letter (link is external) to the Treasury Department to include deadline relief for 1031 like-kind exchanges 180-day completion deadlines. There will be delays in settlements due to title companies and others closed during the outbreak. Also, they should extend the 45-day period for identifying possible properties as exchange candidates. Relief for this program has been provided in the past during other presidentially declared disasters.

SECURE Notarization Act

NAR is working with other trade associations and industry partners to support the “Securing and Enabling Commerce Using Remote and Electronic Notarization Act of 2020” (SECURE Notarization Act). NAR sent this letter (link is external) to lawmakers in support of the bill. This legislation would continue and expand access to remote online notary (RON). It would permit immediate nationwide use of RON, with minimum standards and provide certainty for the interstate recognition of RON. The SECURE Notarization Act builds on ongoing efforts of lawmakers to promote remote transaction options for consumers.

Opportunity Zones

NAR sent a letter (link is external) to the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service to include deadline relief for the working capital safe harbor for Qualified Opportunity Funds with any forthcoming package of taxpayer relief measures.