COVID-19 update

4 September 2020

As you know, we are continuing to provide up to date information as it becomes available to help members deal with the COVID-19 pandemic-related changes in the property industry.

LATEST UPDATE AS OF 5PM

REINSW have just been notified that Minister for Health and Medical Research Brad Hazzard has just signed an exemption under the under the Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order (No 4) 2020 (Public Health Order). Click here to download the exemption.

Open homes and onsite auctions

In what can only be described as a reward for persistence, a triumph for common sense and a genuine win for both consumers and industry, under Division 2 Section 11 of the Order, there is now an exemption provided in relation to the number of persons allowed on a residential premises if they are at a place of residence for the purpose of:

  • View or inspecting the premises for the purposes of the sale of lease of that residence; or
  • Conducting or participating in an auction for that residence.
This exemption is subject to the condition that the occupier of the place of residence must take reasonably practical steps to ensure that the real estate agent conducting the auction, viewing or inspection has and complies with a COVID-19 Safety Plan.

Real estate businesses should be aware of the key principles outlined in the COVID Safety Checklist for Auction and Open Houses in relation to staff and customer wellbeing, physical distancing, hygiene and cleaning, and record keeping, and adapting their business practices to be COVID safe.

Auction houses

To protect the health of staff and clients, business premises that are used as an auction house (other than a clearing house) must have a COVID Safety Plan in place. An auction house includes a purpose built auction room or other commercial space used to conduct an auction. Failure to have a plan can result in a fine.

The NSW Government has developed easy to use COVID Safety Plan templates and checklists specific to auctions and open houses. While not mandated for all open homes and onsite auctions, you are strongly encouraged to develop a plan for your business.

Having a COVID Safety Plan will allow you to identify risks in all aspects of your business and address them before they become a concern. It will also help you to protect your staff and clients and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

For more information on becoming COVID Safe, visit nsw.gov.au.

NSW Fair Trading officers are routinely checking to see what COVID-19 controls are in place when they carry out real estate agent inspections. They are able to provide advice and support on COVID-19 arrangements. Compliance inspectors will take an educative approach with real estate agents this weekend to allow time for all your members to put in place their COVID safety requirements.

If you have any questions please contact the REINSW Helpline on (02) 9264 2343 or email helpline@reinsw.com.au.