Government restrictions on auctions and open homes

 

26 March 2020

Following Tuesday’s announcement by Prime Minister Scott Morrison regarding new measures and restrictions to stop the spread of COVID-19, REINSW welcomes clarification relating to the ban placed on public attendance at auctions and open house inspections.

Further to our update yesterday we have now gained clarification on what these restrictions are and what they mean.

As of midnight 25 March 2020, attendance at auctions and open house inspections has ceased for large groups, however, online auctions and private appointments are still permitted.

Private inspections and in-person negotiations may go ahead with restrictions. Please ensure measures are taken to support social distancing and hygiene principles.

Here are some of the ways you may comply with these restrictions:


General

  • Enforce strict physical distancing, in compliance with government recommendations (e.g. where the 1 person per 4 square metre rule applies). 
  • Ensure hand sanitisers and gloves are available. 
  • Enforce a “no-touch” policy.
  • Use online platforms such as REI Forms Live and DocuSign for remote electronic signatures.

Property inspections

  • From midnight on 25 March 2020, open for inspections can no longer be provided, however private inspections are still permitted.
  • Encourage your clients to undertake the first inspection remotely, using Facebook Live, Facetime, or other digital platforms.    
  • Occupants should not be home during inspections.
  • Ensure physical inspections are carried out with appropriate distancing between individuals.
  • Leave all internal doors open and wipe down relevant internal surfaces before the arrival of clients.
  • Instruct clients not to touch anything in the home and move through without delay.
  • Keep stringent records of all persons at inspections such as date, time, name, number and e-mail for future contact if needed due to an outbreak.

Ongoing tenancy issues 

  • Routine inspections can be organised with the tenant conducting a walkthrough of the property using Facebook Live, Facetime, or other digital platforms.
  • Physical routine inspections are still able to be provided, but ensure strict social distancing and sanitising procedures are maintained.
  • Ensure tradespeople attending for routine or urgent repairs or maintenance are properly vetted and adhere to requirements around tenant safety, including sanitising and maintaining social distancing.
  • If possible, assist with the processing of any government assistance for tenants and landlords.

Auctions

  • From midnight 25 March 2020, auctions conducted in auction rooms and on site have ceased.
  • Public auctions are not permitted even with social distancing measures in place.
  • If the agent and auctioneer need to be in the same office, then the rules applying to social distancing and hygiene must apply. There is a wide variety of online technology choices to assist agents in this area. Phone bidding is an option too.   

Final inspections 

  • Advise tenants to ensure properties are left clean and in a sanitised state before the final inspection.  Please be aware that cleaning contractors may be in limited supply or unwilling to attend.
  • Undertake your final inspections via live video streaming with tenants.

Inspections where people are over 65 

  • Consider avoiding entry to any property occupied by any person over the age of 65 or who otherwise may be at higher risk

We also expect to have NSW State advice soon, which may include an updated Public Health Order. Click here.

There is also information on the NSW Government website for businesses and workplaces which details useful measures for implementing social distancing, environmental cleaning and hygiene principles. Click here.

For more information visit REINSW’s COVID-19 webpage, which includes a toolkit and useful templates, or NSW Government's information hub.

 

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