Following announcements by Prime Minister Scott Morrison regarding new measures and restrictions to stop the spread of COVID-19, the real estate industry has had to make some swift changes to how they operate during these times.
As of the 25th of March, 2020 it was stated that open for inspections are no longer permitted, but private inspections are to go ahead with the following guidelines. With this comes a number of restrictions to property inspections and auctions.
From midnight 25 March 2020, auctions conducted in auction rooms and on site have ceased, with Public auctions not being 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.
Clause 6(1) states that a person must not participate in a gathering in a public place of more than 2 persons. Clause 6(2)(c) then exempts gatherings of persons all of whom are from the same household. It is my understanding that an agent standing with a couple in the street would not be acceptable because the agent does not live with the couple and so they are not all from the same household. In any event, it does not appear that a person’s private property is a public place such that clause 6 is actually not the relevant restriction in question.
Private house inspections have been limited to 1 agent and 1 purchaser. This means that couples cannot attend a private inspection together, even if they currently share a residence.
Clause 7(3)(a) allows for a person (usually the agent) to show a single person a property for the purpose of inspecting after the person has made an appointment for that purpose. A husband and wife (or any other couple) are not a single person. So the agent would have to show the property to the couple separately.
Further, it is asked the inspections not take place where an occupant is 65 or over, or those at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19.
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