COVID19 FAQs

Governor Walz's Latest Executive Order (EO 20-81) Requiring Mandatory Face Coverings

How does EO 20-81 impact the facilitation of real estate transactions?

Added 7/23

Governor Walz issued EO 20-81 on July 22, 2020 Requiring Minnesotans to wear a face covering in certain settings to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  The mandate requires all Minnesotans over the age of 5 (except those unable to comply for health reasons) to wear a face covering in all indoor public settings and face coverings in outdoor public settings where proper social distancing cannot be observed.

What is required?

Added 7/23

Beginning on Friday, July 24, 2020 at 11:59 p.m., Minnesotans must wear a face covering in indoor businesses and indoor public settings, as described in this order and the related industry guidance, available at the Stay Safe Minnesota website, as well as any other guidance referenced in this order. Workers must also wear face coverings outdoors when it is not possible to maintain social distancing. When leaving home, Minnesotans are strongly encouraged to have a face covering with them at all times to be prepared to comply with the requirements of this Executive Order.

What is a proper "face covering"?

Added 7/23

A “face covering” must be worn to cover the nose and mouth completely, and can include a paper or disposable face mask, a cloth face mask, a scarf, a bandana, a neck gaiter, or a religious face covering. Masks that incorporate a valve designed to facilitate easy exhaling, mesh masks, or masks with openings, holes, visible gaps in the design or material, or vents are not sufficient face coverings because they allow exhaled droplets to be released into the air.

What about showings and open houses in private homes?

Added 7/23

The order specifies that while face covering will not be required in private homes that those who enter private homes for a business purpose must wear a face covering.  So, both REALTORS® and clients (and customers) should wear face coverings in showings and open house situations to be compliant with the order. Read MNR's latest Showing & Open House Considerations.

What are businesses required to do?

Added 7/23

  1. Include face covering requirements in businesses’ COVID-19 Preparedness Plans. All businesses must update their COVID-19 Preparedness Plans to include the face covering requirements of this Executive Order.
  2. Notice of face covering requirements. Businesses must post one or more signs that are visible to all persons—including workers, customers, and visitors—instructing them to wear face coverings as required by this Executive Order.
  3. Businesses must require that all persons, including their workers, customers, and visitors, wear face coverings as required by this Executive Order.
  4. When possible, businesses must provide accommodations to persons, including their workers and customers, who state they have a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that makes it unreasonable for the person to maintain a face covering.
  5. Businesses may not require customers to provide proof of a medical condition but a business may require a worker to provide documentation of a medical condition.
  6. Nothing in this Executive Order requires businesses or their workers to enforce this requirement when it is unsafe to do so, or authorizes them to restrain, assault or physically remove workers or customers who refuse to comply with this Executive Order.

What are the penalties for failing to comply with the order?

Added 7/23

  1. Individuals who willfully violate EO-20-81 are guilty of a petty misdemeanor and can be fined up to $100.
  2. Businesses that fail to comply with EO-20-81 are guilty of a misdemeanor and can face fine of up to $1000 and 90 days in jail. Further, civil penalties can be assessed up $25,000 per occurrence.  The Department of Commerce has authority to use existing enforcement tools to ensure compliance with the Executive Order.

Does this Executive Order supersede the local face covering ordinances?

Added 7/23

This order does not supersede local ordinances which require face coverings if they are more stringent.  Be sure to check with local authorities to ensure that you are in compliance with your local regulations, which could be more stringent than this statewide mandate and must be followed in that locality.

Governor Walz's Executive Orders (EO 20-83)

How does EO 20-92 impact the facilitation of real estate transactions?

Updated 10/19

Governor Walz issued EO 20-92 on October 12, 2020 extending his peacetime emergency order through September 12, 2020.  Thus, all existing executive orders remain in effect until the peacetime emergency Executive Order is rescinded or until it is terminated by a majority vote of each house of the Legislature, whichever occurs earlier.

The Governor’s past order (EO 20-74), remains in effect. It states that businesses whose workers qualified for a Critical Sector exemption in EO 20-48 may continue to operate in the same manner as provided in executive order 20-48. 

REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS EXEMPT: Real estate transactions have remained on the governor’s list of Critical Sector work. This category is limited to workers who facilitate and finance real estate transactions and real estate services, including appraisers and title services. All workers and personnel facilitating and financing real estate transactions are exempt from the prohibition to Stay at Home if they cannot do telework or virtual work at their home or residence and/or perform work that can only be done outside their home or residence. 

ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS: EO-74 requires all Critical Businesses to develop and implement a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan (PP) by June 29, 2020. The PP must comply with the requirements in EO-74 as well as with industry guidance currently posted to the Stay Safe Minnesota website .

For state licensed Critical Businesses, state agencies were directed by Governor Walz to develop guidance and template addendum plans that address unique risks and hazards of COVID-19 for their operations no later than June 15th.

All businesses in operation during the peacetime emergency must develop and implement a PP.  We encourage you to  monitor the Stay Safe Minnesota website for any updates to the guidance.

OTHER RESTRICTIONS REMAIN: Under EO 20-48, critical workers must follow these restrictions and requirements:

  1. Travel Restriction: Critical worker exemptions apply ONLY to travel to and from an individual’s home or residence and place of work.  (This includes driving to and from daycare or school.)
  2. Cannot Be Done at Home: They also apply ONLY when an individual’s performance of work duties CANNOT be done at their homes or residence;
  3. Must Follow Guidelines:  Any facilitation of real estate transactions must be done to the maximum extent possible, in a manner that adheres to the MN Occupational Safety and Health Standards and the MN Department of Health (“MDH Guidelines”) and CDC Guidelines related to COVID-19.

How does EO 20-54 protect workers from unsafe working conditions and retaliation during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency?

Added 5/18

Workers whose jobs place them in regular proximity to co-workers or require regular engagement with the public are at increased risk of COVID-19 exposure. Workers with increased risk of exposure also have an increased risk of transmitting the virus to others. To protect workers the Governor ordered as follows:
  • No discrimination for expressing concerns. Employers must not discriminate or retaliate in any way against a worker communicating orally or in writing with management personnel about occupational safety or health matters related to COVID-19, including asking questions or expressing concerns (See MN Stat. 654, Subd. 9 and C.F.R. title 29, section 1977.9(c).)
  • No discrimination for wearing PPE. Employers must not discriminate or retaliate in any way against any worker for wearing gloves, a cloth face covering, eye protection, or other protective gear which the worker has personally procured and reasonable believes will protect them, their coworkers or the public against COVID-19 in the course of their work provided the gear does not violate industry standards or existing employer policies related to health, safety, or decency.
  • Right to refuse to work. Workers have the right to refuse to work under conditions they reasonably believe present an imminent danger of death or serious physical harm.  Employers may not discriminate or retaliate in any way. (See MN Stat. 654, Subd. 11)
  • Right to request DLI conduct a workplace inspection. Workers have the right to request the DLI conduct an inspection of their workplace if they believe that a violation of safety or health standard that threatens physical harm exists or that an imminent danger exists. Employers may not discriminate or retaliate in any way. (See MN Stat. 654, Subds. 8 and 9)
  • DLI enforcement. DLI has authority to receive complaints and enforce the above provisions including awards of backpay and compensatory damages. (See MN Stat. 669)
  • Unemployment insurance benefit eligibility. Any worker who quits their employment because the employer failed to correct an adverse work condition related to the pandemic which would compel an average, reasonable worker to quit after worker has complained and given employer a reasonable opportunity to correct the adverse work condition and was retaliatorily terminated by the employer will not lose unemployment insurance eligibility.  This includes the failure of an employer to develop or implement a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan as required in applicable Executive Orders.

EO 20-55 Protecting the Rights and Health of At-Risk Populations. Governor Walz also issued Executive Order 20-55 that outlines how to protect the rights and health of at-risk populations. As businesses reopen and some restrictions on movement have been relaxed, the Governor has urged we continue our efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 and to protect the most vulnerable Minnesotans.  There are numerous provisions in this EO however following are provisions pertinent to your business:

  • At-Risk Individuals: Defines “at-risk” persons as individuals who are:
    • 65 years and older.
    • Living in a nursing home or a long-term care facility, as defined by the Commissioner of Health.
    • Any age with underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, including:
      • People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma.
      • People who have serious heart conditions.
      • People who are immunocompromised (caused by cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, or prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications).
      • People with severe obesity (body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher).
      • People with diabetes.
      • People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis.
      • People with liver disease.
  • Accommodations for at-risk persons. It orders the Commissioner of Employment and Economic Development to issue guidance for private and public businesses to provide accommodations to at-risk customers by adjusting times, services, and manner of delivering goods and services to minimize the risk of COVID-19 infection.

Please check the DEED website for further developments on this order as there was no published guidance at time of posting this information.

How does EO 20-74 impact non-critical workers and businesses safely returning to work?

Updated 6/12

EO 20-74 contains the following pertinent provisions that affect non-critical workers and businesses safely returning to work:

  • Continue to work from home whenever possible. Any worker who can work from home must do so.
  • Non-Critical Businesses. A Non-Critical Business choosing to open or remain open must establish and implement a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan. Please see our QA on “Where can I find information on implementing a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan for returning to work?” for further details.
  • Customer-Facing Businesses: All non-critical businesses that are customer facing (i.e. business that have in-person customer interactions) must include additional Plan provisions to keep the public and workers safe as set forth in the Plan Guidance.

How does EO 20-74 impact the activities of Minnesotans?

Updated 6/12

  • Masks and face covering strongly encouraged. All Minnesotans are strongly encouraged to wear cloth face covering when they leave their homes to any public setting where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain and follow MDH and CDC face covering guidelines.  Minnesotans may be required to wear a cloth face coverings in certain settings.
  • At-risk persons. All Minnesotans who are at risk of severe illness from COVID-19 are strongly urged to stay at home or in their place of residence and follow the provisions of EO 20-55.
  • Activities Outside of the Home.
  • Unnecessary travel strongly discouraged. Minnesotan’s are still strongly discouraged from engaging in unnecessary travel and are encouraged to stay close to home.
  • Gatherings. All indoor social gatherings of more than 10 people and  all outdoor social gatherings of more than 25 people are prohibited except as allowed in EO 20-74

Eviction Moratorium (EO 20-79)

How does the CDC Order on Eviction Moratoriums impact the State Order (EO 20-79)?

Added 9/17

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the issuance of an Order under Section 361 of the Public Health Service Act to temporarily halt residential evictions to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. Because EO 20-79 creates a greater level of public-health protection, our state order overrides the CDC order unless 20-79 terminates. Below links to a chart that breaks down the state vs the CDC order, and includes links to state and county websites that may offer emergency rental assistance.

State vs Federal Eviction Moratorium Chart

How does Governor Walz’s new Executive Order 20-79 affect the suspension of evictions and writs of recovery?

Added 7/17

On July 14, 2020 Governor Walz issued Emergency Executive Order (EO) 20-79, which rescinds EO’s 20-14 and 20-73.  The rescission of these orders will be effective on August 4, 2020 at 12:00 AM.

EO 20-79 becomes effective on August 4, 2020 at 12:00 AM.

The provisions of EO 20-79 include many of the same provisions that were in EO’s 20-14 and 20-73.  EO 20-79 also suspends evictions and writs of recovery on residential property for the duration of the COVID-19 peacetime emergency or until the order is rescinded. According to the Order, the purpose of these restrictive orders is, “to protect the public health by ensuring that Minnesotans were stably housed during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

How does EO 20-79 affect landlords and tenants after it takes effect on August 4, 2020 at 12:00 AM?

Added 7/17

EO 20-79 also suspends evictions, the execution of writs of recovery, and requests a moratorium on housing foreclosures on residential property during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency or until revocation of the order, except in specified circumstances.

RESTRICTIONS: The order directs the following restrictions:

  1. Places a suspension on the ability of a person to file an eviction action who is entitled to recover residential premises when a tenant remains in the property after any of the following occurrences:
    1. Notice of termination of lease;
    2. After a notice of nonrenewal of a lease,
    3. After a material violation of a lease,
    4. After termination of the redemption period for a residential foreclosure; or
    5. After non-payment of rent

  2. Prohibits residential landlords from issuing notices of termination of lease or nonrenewal of lease or terminating residential leases during the pendency of the peacetime emergency unless the termination or nonrenewal is based upon one of the listed exceptions. (See the QA What are the eviction exceptions to EO 20-79 effective August 4, 2020 at 12:00 AM?).

    However, residential landlords may issue a notice of termination of lease or nonrenewal of lease or terminate a residential lease due to the need to move the property owner or property owner’s family member(s) into the property and where the property owner or property owner’s family member(s) move into the property within 7 days after it is vacated by the tenant.

  3. Officers that hold a writ of recovery of premises and order to vacate must cease executing those writs with certain exceptions. (See the QA What are the writ of recovery exceptions to EO 20-79 effective August 4, 2020 at 12:00 AM?)

 

NOTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS AND SPECIAL REQUESTS: EO 20-79 also establishes new notification requirements and special requests by Governor Walz.

  1. NEW NOTICE REQUIREMENT: EO 20-79 established a new requirement that all property owners, mortgage holders, or other persons seeking possession on grounds permitted by EO 20-79 to provide a written notice of intent to file an eviction action to the tenant at least 7 days prior to filing the action, or the specified notice period included in the lease, whichever is longer.

 

  1. REQUEST FOR AMICABLE RESOLUTIONS: In this EO, Governor Walz has requested that:
    1. Financial institutions holding home mortgages implement a moratorium on all pending and future foreclosures when the foreclosure arises out of a substantial decrease in income or substantial out of pocket medical expense caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, or any local, state, or federal governmental response to COVID-19;
    2. Financial institutions do not impose late fees or other penalties for late mortgage payments related to the COVID-19 pandemic;
    3. Property owners, mortgage holders, or other persons entitled to recover residential premises work with tenants to reach amicable resolutions where possible without filing eviction actions;

Tenants who are able to pay their rent continue to do so.   

What are the eviction exceptions to EO 20-79 effective August 4, 2020 at 12:00 AM?

Added 7/17

  1. The order lists certain exceptions to the eviction suspension above and allows a person to file for an eviction action where the tenant:
    1. Seriously endangers the safety of other residents;
    2. Violates Minnesota Statutes 2019, section 504B.171, Subd. 1
    3. Remains in the property past the vacate date after receiving a notice from the property owner to vacate or nonrenewal under the circumstance where the property owner must terminate the lease or not renew the lease based upon the their need, or their family member’s need, to move into the property within 7 days after it is vacated by the tenant.;
    4. Materially violates a residential lease by the following actions on the premises, including the common area and the curtilage of the premises:
      1. Seriously endangers the safety of others; or
      2. Significantly damages the property.
  1. Additionally, nothing in EO 20-79 modifies the relief available, including exclusion from the dwelling, in an order for protection issued under Minnesota Statutes 2019, section 518B.01, or in a domestic abuse no contact order issued under Minnesota Statutes 2019, section 629.75.

What are the writ of recovery exceptions to EO 20-79 effective on August 4, 2020 at 12:00 AM?

Updated 9/10

  1. An officer that holds a writ of recovery of premises may execute the writ of recovery in the following circumstances:

    1. Writs designated as priority execution under Minnesota Statute 2019, section 504B.365, subdivision 2;
    2. Writs issued as a result of an eviction action judgment entered prior to the enactment of EO 20-14 on March 24, 2020 at 5:00 PM; or
    3. Writs issued as a result of an eviction action based on the circumstance where the tenant:
      1. Seriously endangers the safety of other residents;
      2. Violates Minnesota Statutes 2019, section 504B.171, Subd. 1
      3. Remains in the property past the vacate date after receiving a notice from the property owner to vacate or nonrenewal under the circumstance where the property owner must terminate the lease or not renew the lease based upon the their need, or their family member’s need, to move into the property within 7 days after it is vacated by the tenant.;
      4. Materially violates a residential lease by the following actions on the premises, including the common area and the curtilage of the premises:
        1. Seriously endangers the safety of others; or
        2. Significantly damages the property.


    NOTE: When a judge rules in favor of a property owner in an eviction proceeding, a writ of recovery orders officers of the law to restore that property to the owner. These orders are lawful means by which landlords can physically remove tenants upon approval of an eviction by a judge.

Are tenants still required to pay rent through the duration of this Executive Order?

Added 7/17

Yes. Executive Order 20-79 do not relieve tenants from their obligation to pay rent.

Are rental property owners still required to make mortgage payments?

Updated 8/4

Yes. Executive Order 20-79 do not suspend a borrower’s obligation to make payments on their mortgage.

However, EO 20-79 requests financial institutions holding home mortgages to implement an immediate moratorium on all pending and future foreclosures and related evictions when the foreclosure or foreclosure-related eviction arises out of a substantial decrease in income or out-of-pocket medical expenses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The EO includes language strongly urging financial institutions to refrain from imposing late fees or other penalties for late mortgage payments related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

What happens if a landlord or lender violates Executive Order EO 20-79?

Updated 8/4

Any person who willfully violates the orders is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction may be punished by a fine not to exceed $1,000 or by imprisonment for not more than 90 days. The Attorney General’s office may also seek relief available pursuant to Minnesota Statute. 8.31.

What should I do if a tenant refuses to allow the landlord to show the property?

Updated 7/17

In normal times, Minn. Stat. § 504B.211 allows a landlord to enter the property to show it with reasonable notice – not permission. However, please note that Governor Walz (MN) issued several executive orders, the first being effective March 24, 2020 at 5:00 PM, suspending evictions, so landlords may not commence an eviction as a remedy against tenants who are in violation of their lease for excluding a landlord’s rightful entry and/or tenants who continue to occupy a premises past a lease expiration during the peacetime emergency or until the governor revokes his order.

Additionally, Realtors®, and the landlords they represent, need to balance this right to show the property with their covenant obligations under Minn. Stat. 504B.161. The law states the landlord must maintain the premises in compliance with applicable state and local health and safety laws where the premises are located during the term of the lease. Realtors® should have a Preparedness Plan in place that complies with the DEED Guidelines and recommendations of the MDH the CDC, and OSHA.  Please also note that Realtors® and landlords should not forcibly enter a premise under ordinary circumstances, and so if a tenant has resisted the entry, the Realtor® or landlord should consult with legal counsel regarding alternative remedies.  

These recommendations are changing on a daily, and sometimes hourly, basis. In light of these unique times, you should consider working with the tenant to provide some reassurance and comfort to avoid further issues. You could discuss options like:

  • Virtual showings;
  • Sharing your Preparedness Plan protocols that cover health and wellness, social distancing, cleaning, sanitation and protection, and operations and communications;
  • Refraining from showing the property if the tenant, prospective tenant, or anyone else intending to be at the showing is showing signs of illness; or
  • Postponing showings for tenants or prospective tenants who are in a high-risk group.

What happens if a tenant can't vacate due to the pandemic?

Updated 7/17

Governor Walz has issued numerous Executive Orders prohibiting eviction actions during the peacetime emergency. Please see our QAs regarding EO 20-79 for further details.

Mandatory Preparedness Plan (EO 20-74 & EO 20-75)

If I am a single broker with no agents do I have to have a Preparedness Plan?

Updated 6/30

Yes.  Executive Order 20-74 requires that all businesses in critical sectors (and non-critical customer facing businesses that are open) have a Preparedness Plan implemented by June 29, 2020.  The plan must take into account industry guidance posted on the Stay Safe Minnesota website.  The plan must , at a minimum, adequately address the following:

  1. Require work from home whenever possible. All Plans must ensure that all workers who can work from home continue to do so.
  2. Ensure that sick workers stay home. All Plans must establish policies and procedures, including health screenings, that prevent sick workers from entering the workplace.
  3. Social distancing. All Plans must establish social distancing policies and procedures.
  4. Worker hygiene and source control. All Plans must establish hygiene and source control policies for workers.
  5. Cleaning, disinfection, and ventilation protocols. All Plans must establish cleaning, disinfection, and ventilation protocols for areas within the workplace.

Source:  https://mn.gov/governor/assets/EO 20-74 Final_tcm1055-437539.pdf

As a primary broker, with or without agents or employees under you, you are a critical sector business and a customer-facing business, and a Preparedness Plan is required.

Do all agents have to have a Preparedness Plan?

Updated 6/30

Because there is little guidance issued by the State of Minnesota on this topic, agents should defer to their brokers and legal counsel on this question.  However, there are many factors that might be considered in determining whether a Preparedness Plan is appropriate:

  1. Has the agent formed their own corporate entity?
  2. Does the agent have a team that operates within the brokerage?
  3. Does the agent have workers who work for them? (For the purposes of the Preparedness Plan, this encompasses both employees and independent contractors).

If the answer is yes to any of the above, a Preparedness Plan may be needed.  When in doubt, it may be better to err on the side of caution and create one.

Do I have to submit the Preparedness Plan and where?

Updated 6/30

No, you do not have to submit your Preparedness Plan to anyone.  The requirement is to have one in place and implemented.  This means you should train your workers on the Plan protocols and make sure that they are followed. You will need to make it available if requested by DEED.

What has to be in the Preparedness Plan?

Updated 6/30

Please visit the Preparedness Plan resource page on our website at https://www.mnrealtor.com/member-services/communications/covid19-resources/covid19-ppp for the template and instructions.

Can I use DEED's template that is posted on Minnesota Realtors®’ website and fill it in?

Updated 6/30

Yes, we have provided the template in a Word Document which is available here: https://www.mnrealtor.com/member-services/communications/covid19-resources/covid19-ppp.

If I am licensed and doing business in Minnesota but my primary brokerage office is located in another state, do I need to have a Preparedness Plan in place?

Added 7/17

All businesses that are in operation in Minnesota during the peacetime emergency are required to establish a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan (PP).  The PP will need to incorporate site-specific best practices for your particular business operations surrounding health and wellness, social distancing, cleaning, sanitation and protection, and operations and communications with your sales associates, clients, and visitors in mind.   

Please see our Preparedness Plan section for detailed information.

What are the penalties if I do not have a Preparedness Plan in place?

Updated 6/30

  • An individual who willfully violates EO 20-74 is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction must be punished by a fine not to exceed $1,000 or by imprisonment for not more than 90 days.
  • Any business owner, manager, or supervisor who requires or encourages any of their employees, contractors, vendors, volunteers, or interns to violate EO 20-74 is guilty of a gross misdemeanor and upon conviction must be punished by a fine not to exceed $3,000 or by imprisonment for not more than a year.
  • In addition to those criminal penalties, the Attorney General, as well as city and county attorneys, may seek any civil relief available pursuant to Minnesota Statutes 2019, section 8.31, for violations of EO 20-74, including civil penalties up to $25,000 per occurrence from businesses and injunctive relief.
  • The Department of Commerce has been encouraged by Governor Walz in his EO 20-74 to assess regulated businesses’ compliance with this Executive Order and use existing enforcement tools to bring businesses into compliance.

Business Practices

Where can I find information on implementing a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan for Critical Sector Businesses?

Updated 6/12

EO-74 requires all Critical Businesses to develop and implement a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan (PP) by June 29, 2020. The PP must comply with the requirements in EO-74 as well as with industry guidance currently posted to the Stay Safe Minnesota website and any additional applicable industry guidance that will be posted to this web site on or before June 15, 2020.

For state licensed Critical Business, state agencies were directed by Governor Walz to develop guidance and template addendum plans that address unique risks and hazards of COVID-19 for their operations no later than June 15th.

We encourage you to begin preparing your PP as soon as possible and monitor the Stay Safe Minnesota website for posting of any real estate specific guidance. PREPAREDNESS PLAN CONTENT:

Each Plan must provide for the implementation of MN OSHA Standards and MDH and CDC Guidelines in their workplaces. 

Each PP must, at a minimum, adequately address the following areas:

  1. Require work from home whenever possible. The PP must ensure that all workers who can work from home continue to do so.
  2. Ensure that sick workers stay home. The PP must establish policies and procedures, including health screenings, that prevent sick workers from entering the workplace.
  3. Social distancing. The PP must establish social distancing policies and procedures.
  4. Worker hygiene and source control. The PP must establish hygiene and source control policies for workers.
  5. Cleaning, disinfection, and ventilation protocols. The PP must establish cleaning, disinfection, and ventilation protocols for areas within the workplace.

At this time, you may want to review the provisions of DEED’s general guidance for all businesses to get a head start on your PP. Note however that this guidance is drafted toward non-critical sector businesses in the work setting. DEED and DLI are required to publish additional industry guidance for Critical Businesses no later than June 15th.

Facilitating real estate transactions is unique because you will also be a “customer-facing business” (i.e. businesses that have in-person customer interactions). This will likely require that you adopt additional PP provisions to keep the public and workers safe. You may want to review the applicable guidance for customer-facing businesses to determine what provisions apply to your business when offering showings or open houses. Minimally, this will likely require that you develop a PP including requirements to:

  • Maintain social distancing of six feet, and impose occupancy limits
  • Provide regimen for enhanced sanitizing, cleaning, and disinfecting consistent with OSHA, MDH, and CDC Guidelines for common areas
  • Include signage in common areas to discourage congregating

A compliant PP must be adopted and implemented no later than June 29, 2020.
Although you do not have to submit your PP to any government entity for approval, you need to make it available upon request.

Minnesota Realtors® will provide updates as they are posted.

How can I utilize health-screening questionnaires?

Revised 7/17

The Preparedness Plan for Critical Businesses (effective June 29) will require that Critical Businesses establish health screening protocols, as published by the MDH, for workers. Additionally, the General Industry Guidance states you should have customers/clients review a screening survey that checks for COVID-19 symptoms, close contacts with confirmed cases and quarantined cases, and recent out of continent travel. The questions would be the same as those completed by staff.

  1. Whichever questionnaire you utilize, make sure that you are asking all customers  and clients the same questions to ensure Fair Housing laws are not violated. The CDC is cautioning that such questions could create stigma for certain groups of people resulting in denial of housing and other critical services.
  2. If the purpose of the questionnaire is for your client to rely on the answers to screen out visitors who might be contagious with COVID-19, be aware that such a questionnaire will likely miss a potentially contagious people who are not showing any signs or symptoms. Consult with your clients to determine whether showings or open houses are feasible.
  3. Create a policy for protecting and permanently disposing of any personal health and travel information you have gathered on individuals.
  4. Determine how you will handle showing or viewing rejections based on the answers to the questions and implement them consistently.
  5. Post signage and develop messaging that if customers or clients visiting the property do not feel well or have any symptoms compatible with COVID-19, they should stay home. The MDH has materials and resources that can be utilized by the general public, including signs.
  6. If customers or clients visiting the property begin to feel unwell while in the property, they should leave immediately and isolate themselves at home.
  7. They should also stay home if they have a household member experiencing symptoms compatible with COVID-19.
  8. Consider implementing health screening protocols for the property owner or anyone living at the property that is to be shown before allowing showings and open houses. If anyone residing in the property has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or has any signs of illness, postpone any showings or open houses until the quarantine or the MDH recommended time-period to stay home has lifted.

Provide clients with accurate information about how the virus spreads and implement other measures to prevent transmission, such as wearing a cloth mouth covering, cleaning hands before and after entry, no touching anything in the property, limiting the number of people allowed in the property at any one time, no gathering in small areas, and frequent and thorough cleaning of surfaces before and after showings or open houses.

I am receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits; what happens to those benefits if I were to close on a transaction?

Added 5/6

Unemployment (UI) & Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefit eligibility is determined on a weekly basis. You may be eligible for benefits some weeks while working as a self-employed individual and ineligible during others when you received income. Requests for benefit payments are done weekly and are always for the previous week. If you received income in the week prior to which you are applying for benefit payments, simply report the amount on your payment request. You may be eligible for reduced PUA benefits or none at all depending on how much you earned the previous week.

Please see DEED’s information pages on PUA & UI eligibility while working:

Is unemployment compensation taxable?

Added 4/24

Yes, it's taxable. The Minnesota Unemployment Insurance website says they will withhold taxes on the extra $600.

Am I eligible for unemployment benefits?

Updated 7/17

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, passed by Congress provides unemployment benefits for self-employed people and independent contractors who are generally not covered by unemployment benefits.  Per the MN DEED website the following benefits are available:

  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program – provides weekly benefit payments for self-employed people, independent contractors and others who are not eligible for regular unemployment benefits.
  • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) - $600/week additional payments for people receiving regular or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. However, this additional $600 weekly payment ends July 25, 2020. DEED has details on how the termination of the FPUC funding will affect your unemployment payments.

The details for eligibility can be found here: Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Can my seller or I require clients or customers to wear a mask during showings?

Updated 7/27

Yes.  Please see our FAQs on Governor Walz's EO 20-81 requiring face coverings for further details.

My seller client got COVID-19 and is blaming it on the showings?

Added 4/24

The Minnesota Realtors’® listing contract currently includes language limiting the broker’s liability against claims of damage, loss or injury that arise from marketing the seller’s property. The MN REALTORS® Forms Committee reviewed this provision and determined it was sufficient for the current circumstances and felt it was unnecessary to add any additional language to the listing contract specifically pertaining to COVID-19. It is important to remember that all REALTORS® should follow the public health guidelines provided by the MN Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control as required as a Critical Sector Worker outlined in Governor Walz’s Executive Order 20-48.

Will license renewal be impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic?

Updated 3/31

The real estate license renewal application window opens on May 1 and applications are submitted online. The deadline is June 30. The Minnesota Department of Commerce strongly urges real estate licensees to work with their brokers to complete renewal requirements and renew their licenses at the earliest opportunity. Please refer to the Department of Commerce website for the latest information for licensees and regulated entities.

Should Realtors® continue to hold open houses and showings?

Updated 7/17

As we enter the “stay safe” phase of the pandemic in MN, you can continue to hold open houses and showings so long as you have prepared and implemented a Preparedness Plan that incorporates site-specific best practices for your particular business operations surrounding health and wellness, social distancing, cleaning, sanitation and protection, and operations and communications with your sales associates, clients, and visitors in mind.

Please see our updated Showing and Open House Considerations for further details.

Is it a material fact requiring disclosure if a seller client was diagnosed with COVID-19 or has had contact with someone who has?

Added 3/31

These are unprecedented times. The health and safety of individuals should remain the highest priority.

Licensees and sellers of single-family residential property are required to disclose all material facts of which they are aware that could significantly and adversely affect a buyer’s use or enjoyment of the property. Although there is no specific list of items that are considered “material facts,” there is some precedence that a licensee cannot disclose the status of a person with a communicable disease. (See M.S.  82.68, Subd. 3) Similarly, the CDC has advised employers not to disclose employees who have been diagnosed with COVID 19.

In these uncertain times, it is important for you to consult your personal legal counsel and your seller client to determine the risks of disclosure versus nondisclosure and then decide what is the best course of action for your particular circumstance.

MNR Services

Will the MNR office be open?

Added 3/17

While the office will not be physically open, we are operating a virtual office environment with normal office hours. Please reach out to the appropriate staff member with your questions.

What services will be impacted by the virtual office?

Added 3/17

MNR will be able to conduct most services virtually:

  • Meetings will be held using Zoom technology
  • The Legal Hotline will take calls as usual during regular hotline hours
  • The Legal Team is looking at providing alternative solutions to hearings 
  • The Governmental Affairs team will be working with the Capitol as they can during this time
  • The Communications team will keep you informed via email, the website, and social media

Is the MN Realtors® going to draft an addendum to the representation and facilitator contracts to indemnify brokers for COVID-19 related illness for brokerages who continue to show properties?

Added 3/31

The MN REALTORS® is not intending to adopt any indemnification language specific to COVID-19 at this time.  The MN REALTORS® Listing Contract already contains indemnification language on lines 217-222, which states in pertinent part:

“Seller agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Broker from any and all claims or liability related to damage or loss to the Property or its contents, or any injury to persons in connection with the marketing of the Property. Indemnification by Seller shall not apply if the damage, loss, or injury is the result of the gross negligence or willful misconduct of the Broker.”

Can my brokerage still access the legal hotline?

Updated 5/7

The Legal Hotline is available Monday through Friday from 9am – 12pm and 1pm – 4pm (CST) with our lawyers on standby ready to answer your questions.

Online Submission: Brokers and office managers can also submit Legal Hotline questions online anytime, 24/7. Your query will be forwarded to a staff attorney who will respond as soon as possible or, if submitted after hours, the next business day. Click here for more information on the Legal Hotline.

Where else can I get CE courses?

Updated 3/17

You can take a variety of online CE courses that you can take through Continuing Ed Express, including GRI courses, the DOC-required module, and other CE opportunities. At this time, is is not clear when in-person classes will resume, so we encourage you take advantage of the online course offerings.

Will the lobbying efforts at the Capitol continue?

Added 3/17

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, the Legislature is dramatically scaling back operations at the Capitol.  All regularly scheduled committee meetings have been cancelled and the Legislature will be going on an extended recess until April 14.  Legislative Leaders also announced a narrowing of the work for the remainder of the Session that will focus on:

  • The state's COVID-19 response
  • "Mission critical" measures for state, such as a bonding bill
  • Any legislation that has bipartisan agreement

Despite the lack of face-to-face access with legislators, MN Realtors® lobbying team will continue meeting by phone and via other virtual forms of electronic communication to represent the interests of our members.