On Monday, March 30th – Patrick Wohl, Political Representative with the National Association of Realtors spoke to CARW Members on what the COVID-19 Economic Relief Package (CARES Act) means for REALTORS, Commercial Real Estate and Small Businesses. The CARES ACT is a huge document that outlines the economic relief planned for our country to the tune of more than $2 trillion. The 800 plus page document outlines several areas of interest for commercial practitioners and their clients. Unemployment benefits, for example, will be carried out through agreements between each state and the federal government that are currently being rolled out. Under the CARES Act’s “Pandemic Unemployment Assistance,” independent contractors and self-employed individuals will be eligible for unemployment insurance.
Changes to other provisions will be created and rolled out in the coming weeks. On the call, members were given guidance from the National Association so they are prepared to benefit fully from the programs once they are fully in place.
The CARES Act is the Third Phase of Relief package:
- Phase 1 – Coronavirus preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act – Focused on healthcare preparation and vaccine research. Details can be found HERE.
- Phase 2 – Families First – Focused on an Expansion of FMLA and the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act. This included payroll and tax credits for employers, employees and self-employed individuals. Specific details can be found HERE.
- Phase 3 – CARES ACT ($2 trillion dollar stimulus) – This includes the areas of Housing, Credit Reporting & Student Loans, SBA Provisions, Infrastructure, Tax, Unemployment Benefits for Self Employed, and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act Amendments. Details will continually be announced in the coming days and weeks. Keep referencing the NAR Coronavirus webpage for details as they become available. HERE
- SBA Provisions
- Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Paycheck Protection Program $349 billion dollars. GUIDANCE RELEASED MARCH 31 HERE
- Unemployment Benefits for Self Employed
- Infrastructure Provisions
- Includes Transit Infrastructure Grants & Expanding Broadband
- Tax Changes
- Changes to Retirement Withdrawals
- Employee Retention Tax Credit
- Delay to FICA / SECA taxes
- Additional Modifications
- Individual Rebates
- Mortgage Forbearance
- 30 Day Forbearance for Multi-Family
- Eviction Filing Moratorium
- SBA Provisions
- Phase 4 – Moving Forward TBA – NAR is fighting for 1031 extensions among other things
What is the timeline for determining if someone is eligible for unemployment benefits as an independent contractor or commission-based professional? The federal government is working though the States to administer the unemployment benefits. Wisconsin is currently working on guidance and members will be notified when the site is open. This is the first time in history that independent contractors are eligible for unemployment benefits. More information is HERE
Many of the programs require one to prove hardship as a result of COVID-19 – how is ‘hardship’ defined? The definition of hardship is still being defined. Many professionals sense that this will be broadly defined as it pertains specifically to any hardship suffered through no fault of the individual but rather the COVID-19. Different provisions will have different requirements for how the virus impacts an individual (or whether it’s required at all) in order to take advantage of changes in this bill.
When will we have access to SBA information? The SBA has 15 days from March 27th to issue further guidance on the two loan programs being rolled out. These loans and grants are meant to help small businesses able to pay rent, payroll, business expenses and more, in order to allow them to remain viable through the COVID-19 closures. The federal government will work through the States and financial institutions and advisors to administer the programs. There are several types of loans available for small businesses and agencies including non-profit organizations. We learned that on March 31st, guidelines were given to the banks and lenders outlining some of those timelines and forms. Companies and sole-proprietors may apply on April 3rd and independent contractors and those who are self-employed may apply on April 10th. More information is HERE.
You can access the PDF of the presentation HERE
Commercial Outlines (updated regularly)
Coronavirus Advocacy FAQs Regarding Transactions, Independent Contractors, NAR Grants Etc.
US Chamber of Commerce SBA Guide and Checklist
Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (where unemployment benefits for commission based and independent contractors will be housed) Unemployment Guide
NAR Coronavirus Resource Page HERE
NAR Right Tools, Right Now Page HERE (This resource was put together to support members with new and existing services free or at a discounted rate. The Right Tools, Right Now website can provide you with webinars, education courses, market reports, digital tools and additional resources.)
Payroll Protection Provisions – SBA HERE
1-800 Hotline: NAR has set up a hotline for questions related to real estate, our response to COVID-19, questions about legislation, and other issues. Folks can dial and press 1 to speak with a representative. It’s open between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Central Time, Monday–Friday. The number is 1-800-874-6500.
Commercial Page: NAR has a page dedicated to resources and updates for commercial members. It is available HERE.