California Residential and Commercial Real Estate Services Now Deemed "Essential"

Mar 31, 2020 Published Article

The California real estate industry got a sigh of relief over the weekend as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) reclassified residential and commercial real estate services as "essential."  The change comes after California realtors were previously told that their services had been deemed non-essential and would therefore be suspended.  Despite the reclassification, realtors must be cognizant of the fact that cities or counties can still curtail certain services if they have more restrictive standards concerning what qualifies as an essential service in place, or if there are existing restrictions on what real estate activities can be performed.  For more information, the California Association of Realtors ( has adopted new Real Estate Best Practices guidelines to help realtors navigate through this new and uncertain environment.  Sales activities at for-sale residential housing projects are likely also within the scope of reclassification.  Note, however, that the federal document may be advisory only, and may not be binding upon local jurisdictions, many of which have issued more restrictive shelter-in-place orders this week.

Newmeyer Dillion is tracking these trends and issues to counsel our clients whose businesses are at stake during these unprecedented circumstances. Please reach out to our COVID-19 Task Force, for any questions, or contact our office directly at 949-854-7000.