How Can REALTORS® Protect Themselves Against Liability During the COVID-19 Pandemic?
A REALTOR® cannot be held liable for damages resulting from someone being or likely being infected with or exposed to COVID-19, whether directly or indirectly, as a result of the Realtor providing real estate agent services, according to an order issued by the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General on April 2.
This order, issued under the Emergency Program Act, aims to protect those who provide "essential services" including Realtors, from certain types of liability. The order is only in effect during the state of emergency.
To be covered by this protection, Realtors must not be grossly negligent and must provide real estate agent services in accordance with all applicable emergency and public health guidance or believe that they are doing so.
The order does not protect Realtors from all liability during the COVID-19 pandemic. It only protects you if someone is or likely is infected or exposed to COVID-19 as a result of a Realtor's provision of real estate services. For example, this order would not cover liability, if any, resulting from a buyer's decision to proceed with an offer without viewing a property in-person due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a result of this order, you may decide it's not necessary to obtain waivers from your clients in relation to the potential of being infected with or exposed to COVID-19. However, you may wish to continue using waivers, provided by your brokerage, as a way to confirm with each client that you're complying with the applicable emergency and public health guidance. To help support Realtors, BCREA is creating a Notice and Acknowledgement form in regards to documenting legal advice, which will be made available through WEBForms® by 17 April 2020.
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