Residential Property Management Services are Essential

Posted By: Brett Waller Advocacy News, COVID-19 Resource Center,

Dear WMFHA member,

Over the past week, we've been working with our partners in the real estate industry to confirm with the state that residential property management services are considered Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers. I can report that residential property management services are considered essential subject to the conditions and limitations described below. 

The original Stay Home, Stay Healthy proclamation identified various business functions that remain critical. Under the original order, we could assume certain residential property management functions were considered essential, but not all property management activities.  

On March 25, Governor Inslee further clarified what construction activities could continue under the order. The order reads, in part: "commercial and residential construction is not authorized." However, an exception to the order allows for construction in the following limited circumstances, (a) construction related to essential activities as described in the order."

"It is permissible for workers who are building, construction, superintendents, tradesmen, or tradeswomen, or other trades including, but not limited to, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, laborers, sheet metal, iron workers, masonry, pipe trades, fabricators, heavy equipment and crane operators, finishers, exterminators, pesticide applicators, cleaning and janitorial staff for commercial and governmental properties, security staff, operating engineers, HVAC technicians, painting, moving and relocation services, forestry and arborists, and other service providers to provide services consistent with this guidance."

On March 28, Governor Inslee further clarified what real estate activities are permissible. The memo reads in part that real estate activities have been approved as essential activities under the following conditions and limitations: 

  1. In-person meetings with customers are prohibited except when necessary for a customer to view a property or sign necessary documents
  2. No real estate open houses shall be permitted
  3. Property viewings, inspections, appraisals, and final walk-throughs shall be arranged by appointment and limited to no more than two people on site at any one time, exercising social distancing at all times
  4. Except for the limited exceptions authorized above, all new real estate listings shall be facilitated remotely

Working with our real estate partners, we've confirmed that Governor Inslee's March 28 memo includes residential property management services, subject to the conditions enumerated above.  

Governor Inslee's March 31 Guidance Bulletin also provides that outdoor maintenance may continue to prevent spoliation, avoid imminent damage, or address emergency repairs. 

Most importantly, to all the residential property managment professionals in Washington, and beyond, THANK YOU. 

Additional COVID-19 guidance can be found at the following resources:

If you have questions, please contact Brett Waller by email or at 425.656.9077.