Updated Guidance for Real Estate Practice During COVID-19
CATEGORY: Practice Tips
TAGS: COVID-19 Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate Real Estate Council of BC Real Estate Council of British Columbia Real Estate Practice Safer Showings
UPDATE (January 14, 2021): As the spread of COVID-19 continues to be a concern, restrictions from the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) on social gatherings and non-essential travel, and a requirement for masks in public indoor spaces are still in effect until at least February 5, 2021.
Updated guidance on safer showings from BCREA, the Real Estate Council of BC (RECBC), and the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate (OSRE) published in December 2020 continues to reflect the extension of these orders and directives.
You can view the updated documents here:
- Safer Showings During BC’s Second Wave
- Safe Practices During BC’s Second Wave: A Checklist for Managing Brokers
We recognize the effort REALTORS® have put in to comply with provincial orders and our guidance and encourage you to continue to practice real estate with health and safety as a top priority.
As BCREA, RECBC, and OSRE continue to work with stakeholders for further clarity on how certain aspects of the orders apply to real estate, we recognize you might find yourself in a situation where you are unsure how to proceed, as the guidance may not be not clear and explicit. In this case, we encourage you to act in accordance with the spirit of the orders, choosing the safest course of action in order to keep our communities safe.
The following list of recommendations, developed in collaboration with RECBC and OSRE, is intended to offer practice guidance on topics Realtors, managing brokers, and your clients may have questions about:
- Wearing Masks During Showings
According to the PHO, masks are required for anyone hosting an in-person showing. However, we strongly recommend brokerages and Realtors require that everyone taking part in a showing – including other Realtors, prospective buyers and occupants – wear masks when viewing a specific property, including all common areas for multi-tenanted properties.
- Number of People in a Showing
The maximum number of people allowed in a showing, if physical distancing allows, is six. While guidance from the PHO may not be explicit, this number includes Realtors and occupants. Additionally, if space or the layout does not allow for adequate physical distancing, Realtors should have fewer people in attendance. This number should also extend to people outside the property. There should be no gathering or lining up outside of a home. Consumers booked for a showing should wait in their cars until their assigned time.
- Time Between Showings
In order to protect the safety of individuals participating in a showing, including occupants and neighbours, ensure viewings are scheduled at appropriate intervals to allow for sufficient time to clean, sanitize, and ventilate the property between viewings.
- Selling Tenant-Occupied Properties
Realtors should pay specific attention to the unique needs of buying and selling tenant-occupied property. As a result, BCREA and RECBC have created specific guidance for Realtors on this topic, which can be viewed here.
- Pre-Qualifying Buyers
To limit in-person attendance at showings to only serious buyers, pre-qualify prospective buyers ahead of time and make sure they have familiarized themselves with information about the property available digitally.
We recommend Realtors also keep informed by monitoring provincial health orders, notices, and guidance, exercising caution, and care in all areas to ensure you are doing your part to help curb the spread of COVID-19.
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