As you may know, last week the Empire State Development Corp (ESDC), through statements they put out, sent most agents and brokers in New York on a roller coaster ride, first implying that since we are all deemed essential that we would be allowed to get back to work, without limitations. The following day, ESDC qualified their statement, essentially retracting the statement they had made the prior day, while stating that all work had to be done from home. Some agents and brokers I know experienced irrational exuberance, followed the next day by inactivity and in some cases, lifelessness, not knowing what had just happened to them.

Today, the New York State Association of Realtors® (NYSAR), today, issued the following, well deserved admonishment of ESDC.

April 5, 2020

Dear NYSAR member,

We want to make you aware of the following request we have made to Empire State Development.

A sincere request from the New York State Association of REALTORS®, Inc.
to Eric Gertler, President and CEO, Empire State Development

New York State’s REALTORS® understand that these are unprecedented times and that the impact and response to COVID-19 evolves daily. We applaud Governor Cuomo for his exceptional leadership during this time of crisis. Like all New Yorkers, our members want to be part of the solution to ending this devastating pandemic.

But in times of crisis like this, clear communication and transparency in decision making is critical to maintaining order. We need you to recognize the chaos Empire State Development has unintentionally caused in our industry due to inconsistent methods of communication and a lack of clarity in your decision making process.

We understand that additional guidance for real estate licensees is forthcoming. But we also know our members will still have questions about how this guidance will be applied to their day-to-day work experience. They also need to be reassured that their safety, and overall public safety, is your top priority. For this reason, we are calling on ESD to sponsor weekly industry updates – through virtual town halls, for example – open to all real estate licensees. In that way, the people you are regulating can understand any recent changes to the forthcoming guidance, what you expect of them and the reasoning behind such decisions.

NYSAR further welcomes the opportunity to provide ESD with valuable insight as to the practical application of guidance and how such guidance should be followed by real estate licensees.

We cannot emphasize this enough: we want to be part of the solution. All we ask is that you communicate with us in an open and constant way, and that you acknowledge that you are listening.

Jennifer Stevenson, President