Letter: We All Need Shelter

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has declared that real estate agents are “non-essential” service providers and must close. He also banned open houses and showings. As a licensed real estate broker, I believe this to be a mistake.

Here in the Hudson Valley, we are fielding calls from concerned city dwellers wishing to escape a likely New York City lockdown. They’re seeking short-term rentals in our area, and we’re unable to help them. Our hands have been tied, effectively stranding them in an already over congested city. What purpose does that serve?

There are two basic human needs: food and shelter. Nationwide, we are entering a time of huge societal disruption. Children will be taking their parents out of nursing homes to protect them; homeowners and landlords will not be able to make their mortgage payments; the unemployed will be hard-pressed to pay their rent. People will need to relocate to be closer to family. Everybody will still need a roof over their heads. And real estate agents are uniquely positioned to help.

Real estate agents greatly contribute to the efficiency of the housing market. We are all deeply embedded in our communities. No one knows the housing stock better than we do. That knowledge is our job description.

If we have to, we can do without offices, but we will still need to have showings. There is only so much we can accomplish virtually. Most people will still want to physically visit a property before renting it and, especially, buying.

Showings will require social distancing. Surfaces will need to be disinfected. With common sense, our work can be conducted with minimum risk to the public and to ourselves.

Real estate agents have much to contribute to our communities. This is no time to sideline us. Gov. Cuomo should reconsider his overly hasty decision.

Daniel Aubry, Beacon

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One thought on “Letter: We All Need Shelter

  1. I read with great disappointment the plea to “help” New York City residents who wish to escape a lockdown by coming to the Hudson Valley. What part of “stay home and save lives” is not connecting? What of the thousands of people who have already died and who may potentially die and the only sure potential weapon we have is to self-isolate? And we are not asking them or us to self-isolate or shut down our business for months or years. It’s for 30 or 60 days.

    I know it’s a long time. I’ve just been furloughed from my job for at least 60 days, so I know it’s not easy. And I’m caring for my grandson who’s college had to shut down. But take heart, this won’t last forever. And think how much better everyone will be. And hopefully what we will learn from this. I grew up and worked in New York City and love it as much as anyone. But as an older person with medical issues, I am extremely grateful to our governor for his strong positions and for all he’s doing for our great state to try to keep us as safe as possible. I believe all of us need to do our part particularly for those at most risk.