top of page

BREAKING NEWS - "Essential Services" Guidelines Update

Bay East Association of REALTORS®, Bridge Association of REALTORS®, AND Contra Costa Association of REALTORS® have continued to seek clarification of the March 31st, Shelter-in-Place Order issued in six Bay Area Counties and the City of Berkeley.

The update below has been confirmed for Alameda County, Contra Costa County and the City of Berkeley. We expect those jurisdictions to update their FAQs accordingly.

Photographers have now been added to the list of service providers essential to residential real estate transactions in Alameda County, Contra Costa County and the City of Berkeley.


1.        What is consensus on vacant?

     According to the Counties and City of Berkeley, vacant means that no one is using the property as a residence or place of abode. A property is not vacant if the occupant is gone on a trip and intends to return. It is not vacant just because the occupant leaves the property during the viewing allowed by the Orders. The intent is the property is not occupied or used as a place to live and there is no intent to use it prior to the close of the transaction.

2.        Who can access a property involved in a residential sales transaction?

           If, and only if, the property is vacant, an agent and two people from the same household may view the property.

           Irrespective as to whether the property is vacant, home inspectors (which includes termite inspectors, sewer inspectors), appraisers and photographers may access a home provided they comply with Appendix A to the Order issued by the County. They must be escorted into the home by the agent and the buyers are not allowed to be present.

           The Order is intended only to allow “essential service providers” access to the home. The Counties and City have determined that essential services involve issues of sanitation or safety and do not include any “cosmetic” services. Examples of cosmetic services are staging, landscape services used to beautify and not maintain, painters not engaged in a structural repair or similar services. The Order does allow electricians, plumbers and other service providers performing necessary repairs.

3.        All persons gaining access to residential property must comply with Appendix A to the Order.


bottom of page