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REINZ Issues COVID-19 Suggestions Around Open Homes, Auctions & Rental Viewings

Following significant advancements in New Zealand’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) has developed the following suggestions for the real estate profession in relation to COVID-19.

All comments below may be attributed to Bindi Norwell, Chief Executive at REINZ.

REINZ is watching the COVID-19 situation closely and is supporting members as the situation unfolds. We have issued a number of suggestions to members as follows:

Specific Open Homes, Auction & Rental Viewing Suggestions

As of this afternoon, public events below 500 people can continue, therefore open homes, auctions and rental viewings can continue – albeit with some additional precautions. In terms of open homes/rental viewings, members should speak to vendors/clients in the first instance to see if they are still happy to hold open homes/rental viewings or if they would prefer to hold viewings by private appointment only. Obviously, if the Ministry changes its advice, then this would need to be adhered to.

Our suggestions around open homes, auctions and rental viewings is as follows:

  • Have hand sanitiser available for use by anyone viewing the property/attending an auction
  • Display COVID-19 information and hygiene notices at the property/auction, including a statement at the entrance that:
    • Those who are feeling unwell may not enter the open home/auction
    • Anyone who has returned from abroad (excluding the Pacific*) or has been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the last 14 days should be self-isolating and may not enter the property
    • If an attendee feels unwell within 14 days of attending an open home/auction, to contact the agent
  • For private viewings of open homes, the above information should be emailed to attendees in advance
  • Auction attendees should fill out an attendee register (regardless of whether they intend to bid or not) so that they can be contacted at a later date if needed. The same is true of open home attendees
  • If a person who attended an open home/rental viewing/auction tests positive for COVID-19, other people who attended the open home/rental viewing/auction may need to be contacted
  • Agents should consider requiring pre-registration of auction attendees. This way, attendees can be emailed relevant COVID-19 information before attending the auction
  • Consider opening internal and external doors before the open home/rental viewing commences to minimise the transfer of any bugs.

We have also recommended that should the COVID-19 situation develop further in New Zealand that agencies must seriously consider alternative selling methods, such as tender or private treaty or using VR tours where possible. We have also advised members to keep a regular review the Ministry of Health, MFAT and World Health Organisation website to keep abreast of any changes over the coming weeks/months.”

Routine Property Inspections

  • When assessing the frequency of inspections, property managers need to consider that the landlord’s insurer may require inspections to be carried out at certain intervals. You will need to obtain this information from your landlords if you are considering reducing the frequency of inspections
  • Email tenants relevant COVID-19 information before attending a routine property inspection
  • Tenants who are feeling unwell should advise their property manager before the inspection due date so the inspection can be rescheduled
  • During rental inspections, disposable gloves should be worn and disposed of immediately afterwards
  • Tenants who have returned to New Zealand from abroad (excluding the Pacific*) or have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 should be self-isolating for 14 days and should advise their property manager prior to any routine inspections.

More widely speaking, agencies must develop their own response plans to COVID-19, taking into account the unique nature of their particular business.

REINZ has communicated these suggestions with its members and published the information on its website for members to access.

REINZ Events & Education

REINZ has taken the proactive decision to postpone all REINZ events, face-to-face verifiable training, property management workshops and Health & Wellbeing workshops from today until the end of April – even though all of these events involve fewer than 500 people.

This is about protecting the health of our members, our trainers, REINZ staff and the wider public with respect to COVID-19.

We will be reviewing this position in the coming days/weeks and of course keep our members updated accordingly.

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