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Melbourne
22 Oct 20

SELLING AND RENTING DURING CORONAVIRUS: MELBOURNE’S REAL ESTATE ROADMAP

Sunday 27th September brought the best news in a long time for COVID-19 Stage-4 restricted Melbourne real estate agents; the return of private inspection appointments as well as the ability to conduct sales and leasing appraisals.

First National CEO Mr Ray Ellis, and the Real Estate Institute of Victoria had been working behind the scenes and this, combined with a campaign of letters and calls to key Victorian Ministers, brought the impacts of the Andrews Government's COVID-19 policy impacts on ordinary citizens to light.

Even better was the announcement on Sunday 18th October that private inspections in Melbourne for those looking forward to buying or renting during coronavirus would be permitted for commercial real estate as well as residential real estate as of Monday 19th October. In addition, onsite auctions are also now permitted outside and limited to 10 attendees plus agency staff and the vendor, for all residential and commercial property.

As many Victorian businesses look to reopen (including ours at the right time), the priority will be the health and safety of workers and clients. COVID-19 directions issued under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act require that operators in the real estate industry must abide by the following restrictions in both Metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria respectively, effective from 11.59pm 27 September. These COVID-19 restrictions apply to all real estate businesses, including property sales and marketing and property management businesses. It applies to activities such as property marketing, sales and rental offices, auctions and on-site properties, e.g. viewings, repairs and maintenance.

To comply with regulations around selling during coronavirus, directives issued under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act. Real Estate activities carried out in Metropolitan Melbourne must adhere to specific restrictions, some outlined below:

METROPOLITAN MELBOURNE - COVID-19 SECOND STEP | HEAVILY RESTRICTED

Onsite property Inspections and Viewings

  • On-site property viewings for those interested in buying or renting during coronavirus are now permitted by private appointment for one agent and one prospective buyer/tenant. They may be accompanied by one other person from an existing household or an intimate partner and the prospective buyer or tenant’s children under 18 years old if there are no appropriate alternative care arrangements available.
  • Short-term accommodation rental activities only on care, compassionate or emergency grounds
  • Property marketing, sales and rental activities that cannot be done remotely are permitted, limited to one agent and one service provider (e.g. document exchange, cash handling, condition reports, photo shoots in consultation with residents)
  • The agent must make sanitiser available at all inspections and require its use prior to entry into the property
  • The property should be well ventilated and include the opening of all internal and external doors at all times during inspections
  • Minimise the touching of surfaces within the property by, turning on lights and opening all cupboards, drawers, windows and doors
  • The occupier(s) of a property for sale or lease are required to leave during an inspection for one of the permitted reasons under the Stay at Home Directions
  • The agent contacts the occupier of a property to arrange a suitable time and ensures the occupier and attendee are not symptomatic, self-isolating or under quarantine before attending
  • A person can leave their home for a maximum of two hours to attend a pre-arranged private inspection of a property, though is not permitted to travel to regional Victoria to attend an inspection
  • Agents must ensure any surfaces touched during an inspection are disinfected by the agent at the completion of the inspection
  • The agent keeps records of all inspections or marketing activity undertaken, including necessary contact details of attendees

Auctions

  • Auctions for residential and commercial property are permitted onsite
  • A limit of 10 attendees, plus agency staff and vendor applies
  • The auctioneer may call the auction without a mask to ensure clear speech
  • It is advised that interested parties register their interest to ensure limited numbers of attendees on auction day

Property Management

  • No ongoing rental inspections permitted (face to face routine inspections)
  • Repairs and maintenance of properties are permitted only to ensure safe and secure use and occupancy
  • Facilities management services (e.g. for occupied properties, multi-dwelling residential properties) permitted only to ensure health and safety of users


Auctions

  • Auctions for residential and commercial property are permitted onsite
  • A limit of 10 attendees, plus agency staff and vendor applies
  • The auctioneer may call the auction without a mask to ensure clear speech
  • It is advised that interested parties register their interest to ensure limited numbers of attendees on auction day

 

Property Management

  • No ongoing rental inspections permitted (face to face routine inspections)
  • Repairs and maintenance of properties are permitted only to ensure safe and secure use and occupancy
  • Facilities management services (e.g. for occupied properties, multi-dwelling residential properties) permitted only to ensure health and safety of users

 

The next step towards freedom for renting, buying and selling during coronavirus

It remains to be seen at this time when agents and real estate clients will be afforded less stringent movement. The coming weeks will hopefully bring the further easing of restrictions for business in Metropolitan Melbourne in line with public health advice on COVID-19.

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