IMPORTANT UPDATE: Revised Auction & Open House Inspection Protocols
Effective from 12:00pm on 1 June 2020, Queensland’s Chief Health Officer has further relaxed the rules surrounding real estate auctions and open house inspections pursuant to ‘Restrictions on Businesses, Activities and Undertakings Direction‘.
Under the above Direction which applies from 12:00pm on June 1, in-room or in person auctions can now be conducted with up to 20 people, with no more than one person per 4 square metres and social distancing observed. A maximum of 3 people can conduct the auction in addition to the 20 attendees. This may include the auctioneer and agency staff.
Inspections can now be conducted via private appointment or by ‘open house’ inspection method with a maximum of 20 people. A maximum of 3 people can conduct the open house inspection in addition to the 20 attendees.
New personal information gathering requirements for auctions and inspections
At both auctions and inspections, agency staff and auctioneers must collect and store the names, addresses and mobile phone details of any attendees and staff members for contact tracing purposes to help monitor, control and reduce the spread of COVID-19. This information must be kept for a period of 56 days, provided to public health officers upon request, stored securely, not used for any other purposes and deleted after 56 days.
Other Best Practice Requirements Recommended by the REIQ
In compliance with the above Direction and in line with health and safety requirements, the REIQ strongly recommends that agencies continue to remain vigilant and complete preventative measures to reduce the risk of contracting and spreading the COVID-19 virus via real estate practices.
Although ‘open house inspections’ are still permissible subject to certain requirements, the REIQ recommends that inspections are conducted in a controlled manner as outlined below to ensure the health and safety of real estate professionals and the broader community.
What does this mean?
You are encouraged to:
- Continue to conduct inspections by appointment where possible and to qualify genuine buyers before arranging physical inspections; and,
- Conduct virtual inspections (initially) where possible, by using live stream technology, 360 virtual tours or video presentations in lieu of physical inspections.
- Where advertising an ‘open house inspection’ we recommend agencies include a statement that maximum person restrictions apply and entry may be prohibited for health and safety reasons.
- Where possible, the REIQ recommends that prospective buyers are asked to register their interest prior to attendance at ‘open house inspections.’ This enables the number of persons entering the property to be better managed and provides an opportunity to outline the relevant entry requirements.
- Where the property is occupied, prior to the inspection agency representatives should contact the seller, tenant or other occupants of the property to determine:
- If any occupants of the property are subject to a quarantine direction (for example, the person has arrived in Queensland and is required to self-quarantine for 14 days in compliance with a public health direction); or,
- Whether the occupants consider the entry would contravene a public health direction (click here); or,
- Whether entry should be refused because the occupant/s is/are a vulnerable person. A ‘vulnerable person’ means any of the following persons:
- An individual over 70 years of age;
- An individual over 65 years of age who has an existing health condition or comorbidities;
- An Aboriginal person or Torres Strait Islander over the age of 50 who has an existing health condition or comorbidities; or,
- An individual whose immune system is compromised.
We recommend that the inspection is delayed and/or alternative arrangements are made if the above grounds apply. Notably, if the property is tenanted, the tenant may refuse entry on the basis of the above matters.
Prior to allowing entry to a prospective buyer, the REIQ recommends the agent should ask the person to confirm whether they:
- Are subject to a quarantine direction (for example, they have recently arrived in Queensland and are required to self-quarantine for 14 days in compliance with a public health direction); or,
- Have developed COVID-19; or,
- Have been in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case in the past 14 days; or,
- Have symptoms of COVID-19 including fever, sore throat, cough, fatigue or difficulty breathing.
If the prospective buyer responds yes to any of the above, we recommend that entry be refused and rescheduled or alternative arrangements made. Agents may choose to ask these questions prior the inspection or alternatively, these questions may be displayed as ‘Rules of Entry’ at the entrance of the property. The REIQ has developed the following resources for agents to use. (Click here to download the Stop Poster, click here to download the Letter to Prospective Purchaser and click here to download the Home Inspection poster.)
You must ensure that there are no more than 20 people including a maximum of 3 agency staff present in the property with at least 4 square metres of space for each person present in the property. You must also ensure that social distancing requirements are adhered to with a space of 1.5 metres between each person. Please take particular care to observe these rules in small and confined spaces such as bathrooms and hallways.
The 20 person rule is not limited to persons within the same family and may include mixed groups. Furthermore, to ensure the maximum person rule is adhered to, you should have a second agency representative at the front door to monitor the number of persons entering the property. Alternatively, it may be necessary to keep doors locked to avoid contravention of the maximum number rule.
As always, we recommend agents request all attendees use alcohol hand rub (hand sanitisers) made available to them prior to entering the property. Furthermore, we recommend the use of the attached visual guides and protocol measures (below) to assist with compliance of these requirements and recommendations which can be displayed at the entrance of the property. Click here to download the Stop Poster, and click here to download the Home Inspection Poster.
The above information is accurate as at 1 June 2020 and is based on the above Direction which is subject to change without notice. The REIQ will endeavour to keep members informed of any future changes, however we recommend you monitor changes to the Direction by clicking here.