Pandemic and Economic Recovery

As we navigate this crisis, our topmost priority is to understand and communicate conducting business during the pandemic.

Sonoma County Renter & Landlord Assistance Program OPEN!

The County of Sonoma has awarded $2.37 million to local nonprofits for residents whose ability to pay rent has been impacted by COVID-19, as well as to low-income landlords who have lost income as a result of COVID-19. Contact West County Services; Friends in Sonoma, Petaluma People Services and Community Action Partnership to apply.

Residents can receive up to $6,000 for six months of rental assistance, which can include current and back payments of rent and utilities. Renters and landlords may contact the nonprofits for application information (County of Sonoma).

COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020 Quick Guide.  Click here to access.

COVID Tracker:

Click here for the latest orders and information on Shelter in Place orders.


On July 2, the Departments of Public Health and Cal/OSHA released new guidance on COVID-19, including some relating to real estate. While there are some changes in office openings, cleaning protocols and other issues which required minor changes in the BPPP and related forms, they do not significantly change practices.

As a reminder, cities or counties may be more restrictive than State Guidance and orders.  Mendocino, Napa and Lake Counties have more restrictive rules. See our COVID Tracker for more information. The more restrictive rule takes precedence and must be adhered to. In those jurisdictions prohibiting “Open Houses” altogether, “Open House” signs should not be used at all.

“Open Houses” on a walk-in basis are still prohibited. All showings still require either an appointment or a digital sign-in process prior to entry including completing a PEAD form. Any such showings still must follow these rules: (1) Have protective equipment made available like masks and hand sanitizer; (2) Thoroughly clean all shown properties and disinfect commonly used areas such as doors and door knobs, cabinet handles, switches, etc; (3) Control the number of people in the house by only allowing in one buying party at a time (which could be more than one person). The listing agent and buyer's agent may also be on the property at the same time; (4) All showings require appointments OR digital sign-ins.

Based on this, an advertisement using the term "Open House" alone is likely deceptive as it implies a walk-in basis without the mandatory appointments/digital sign-in protocols that are not typical for an “Open House.” Although it is recommended that no “Open House” signs be used, if they are, they must also include information on the sign or a sign rider indicating that appointments or digital sign-in are required before entry. Of course, the regular protocols of advance digital completion of PEAD forms before entering, social distancing, limitations on persons going through the house at one time, cleaning and disinfecting between each showing, etc. apply. However, any type of traditional open houses -- spontaneous walk-up with no digital sign-in or appointment or adherence to all protocols—would threaten the policy allowing licensees to show property and, worse, threaten the health of the seller and those visiting potentially causing a super-spreader event.

Realtors® using “Open House” signs or advertisements without the riders about advance appointments or digital sign-in may be subject to ethics discipline for violating the “true picture” test under Article 12 as the common understanding of an “Open House” by the public and the industry does not include advance digital sign-ins or appointments, along with the other protocols that would delay a spontaneous showing. In the end, variations on this would have to be decided by panels, in the context of the COVID-19 rules in place at the time.

Please also be aware the Department of Real Estate has reassigned 17 employees including 5 or 6 recently hired special investigators from its Los Angeles office to assist the Department of Public Health with contact tracing efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19. As for licensees who may be violating/have violated the Governor’s Executive Orders, if the DRE learns of such violations, they indicated their focus is to educate the subject licensee and remind him/her of the importance to follow the Executive Orders and take efforts to minimize/eliminate the spread of the virus. Although the DRE did not explicitly so state, it is also possible that if these violations are egregious or repeated, they may also be reported to the authorities for further action.

Members who have questions about this guidance or anything else relating to transactions, should contact the C.A.R. Legal Hotline.

Call Before Showing (CBS) Code on your Lockboxes

You can establish a Call Before Showing Code on your lockboxes to restrict access if you use the eKey app.  If you set a CBS Code, agents will have to contact you and enter an additional code to open the lockbox.

Click here for instructions.   (Thank you to David Kerr for the instructions.)

Visual Inspections

Guidance on Visual Inspections Disclosure

Financial Assistance

The new COVID Relief Hotline provides members with assistance navigating and applying for financial assistance programs during the coronavirus pandemic. Currently, the hotline is experiencing a high volume of calls due to demand.

Call (213) 351-8450 for 24/7 support via SMS text and live support between 8:30 a.m. and 4:45 p.m.


SMS Text Support: 24/7

Live Support: 8:30 a.m. - 4:45 p.m. Monday - Friday


C.A.R. Members Only

Phone – (213) 351-8450


Financial Relief For REALTORS®


The EDD is now taking online PUA. In order to provide benefits as quickly as possible following that date, the EDD announced that payments will be issued in phases. Initially, benefit payments will be the minimum amounts ($167 per week of eligibility, plus the $600 additional payment for certain weeks, as shown in each phase below). The EDD will work to develop income verification procedures to determine if individuals are eligible for higher payments, which would apply retroactively to the first date of eligibility. We will update this information with any income verification procedures and timing when the EDD makes it available.

Click here for step by step instructions on filing a claim.

Click here for more information.

Click here for videos on PUA

SBA Emergency Aid Money

President Trump has signed into law an interim spending bill allocating additional funds for emergency aid programs for small businesses. Many REALTORS® are eligible for these aid programs.
Specifically, the law allocates:

  • $310 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which provides forgivable loans to small businesses, including REALTORS®. Of this allocation, $60 billion has been set aside for community banks, credit unions, and community development financial institutions, which can better serve smaller businesses and minority-owned firms, organizations that are less likely to have an existing relationship with a larger bank.
  • $60 billion for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, to provide $50 billion in loans and $10 billion in emergency grants to small businesses, including REALTORS®.
  • $25 billion for coronavirus testing and $75 billion for hospitals.

Both the PPP and EIDL programs will proceed with the same eligibility criteria and application processes as they did prior to running out of funding last Thursday, April 16. These funds are expected to be expended very quickly.

The SBA will make additional coronavirus-related financial assistance available to small businesses beginning on Monday.
For more information on these and other financial relief programs, see the REALTOR® Relief page on C.A.R.’s coronavirus microsite.


Insurance Companies to Refund Premiums to Businesses Affected by COVID-19

Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara this week ordered insurance companies to return insurance premiums to consumers and businesses to provide financial relief during the COVID-19 emergency. The Commissioner's Bulletin covers premiums paid in at least six different insurance lines: private passenger automobile, commercial automobile, workers' compensation, commercial multi-peril, commercial liability, medical malpractice, and any other insurance line where the risk of loss has fallen substantially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Commissioner's Bulletin requires insurance companies to provide a premium credit, reduction, return of premium, or other appropriate premium adjustment as soon as possible, and no later than August 2020. Commissioner Lara has already requested at least a 60-day grace period for policyholders to pay their premiums so that insurance policies are not cancelled for nonpayment of premium during this challenging time.

Read More


The Right Tools, Right Now initiative, which was activated once before in 2009, makes new and existing NAR products and services available for FREE or at significant discounts – right now – and is available to REALTORS® and REALTOR® Associations.

Right Tools, Right Now