As Washington readies bailout, real estate CEO asks: ‘What about agents and independent contractors?’

By Jennifer White Karp  |
March 19, 2020 - 11:30AM

Compass founder and CEO Robert Reffkin published this morning an open letter asking Congress to consider real estate agents and independent contractors in any Covid-19 response package.


The Trump administration’s $1 trillion stimulus package—intended to prevent the collapse of economic sectors like the airlines and possibly the hospitality industry—is being hammered out on Capitol Hill and one real estate CEO is urging Congress not to forget about real estate agents and other independent contractors.

Compass founder and CEO Robert Reffkin published an open letter asking Congress to consider real estate agents in any Covid-19 response package. Reffkin says the earnings of the U.S.’s two million agents, who derive their income from commissions, will be devastated by the pandemic.

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The New York City real estate market has already been suffering a slowdown, now the pandemic has slashed traffic to open houses and prevented showings. Reffkin says the coronavirus is particularly problematic for an industry that is based on personal contact and made up of older people, for whom the virus is especially deadly. He notes that 63 percent of agents are over 50 years old.

“None of us knows how long this crisis will last, but we do know that for real-estate agents, the economic pain will last even longer than it will for those in many other professions,” Reffkin writes.

Independent contractors in other industries are also devastated by the shutdowns and need for citizens to shelter in place—and are fearful of losing their income.

With those issues in mind, Reffkin is urging Congress to “not forget about the particular plight of real estate agents and other independent contractors,” who represent the backbone of the U.S. economy.

“I urge you to include benefits for independent contractors, including agents, and not limit this essential support to W-2 employees and the most-frequently-discussed industries,” he writes.




Jennifer White Karp

Managing Editor

Jennifer steers Brick Underground’s editorial coverage of New York City residential real estate and writes articles on market trends and strategies for buyers, sellers, and renters. Jennifer’s 15-year career in New York City real estate journalism includes stints as a writer and editor at The Real Deal and its spinoff publication, Luxury Listings NYC.

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