Coronavirus: FAQs for Property Managers
The REIQ has been closely monitoring the impact of COVID-19. As your peak body, we have developed an article that answers the questions we’ve been fielding through our Agency Advice lines.
Q: What restrictions are there on open rental inspections?
A: UPDATE: From 4pm Saturday 31 July 2021 to 4pm Sunday 8 August 2021, people in South-East Queensland will be required to stay at home except for essential reasons. Please visit our main Coronavirus: Fast Facts page for more information.
For other parts of Queensland: Effective from 28 June 2021, Queensland’s Chief Health Officer has maintained the rules surrounding open house inspections pursuant to Restrictions on Businesses, Activities and Undertakings Direction (No. 21), which can be viewed here. In an indoor space, there is to be no more than 1 person per 2 square metres for areas open to or used by guests or patrons; OR 100 per cent of seated venue capacity provided all guests or patrons are in ticketed and allocated seating. Venues or events with an indoor space and outdoor space must comply with the occupant density requirements for the indoor space, but do not need to limit occupant density in the outdoor space.
All social distancing and hygiene requirements remain in effect. Agents must keep up-to-date with the current Queensland Government’s Restrictions on Businesses, Activities and Undertakings Direction as these requirements are subject to change at any time.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: The ‘Check In QLD’ app is now mandatory for the real estate industry. Additionally, the previous COVID-Safe Industry Plan for Queensland Real Estate has been revoked. and is instead replaced by the COVID-Safe Industry Checklist. From 1am 9 July, agencies will have to have the app and QR code, as well as a signed copy of the check list on display at their places of business, auctions and open home inspections. For more information, please read our latest article here.
What precautions should I implement when conducting rental/routine inspections?
Should your client make their home or property available to private inspections, the REIQ recommends the following:
- Contact the current tenant(s) to ensure no one in the home is currently ill or in self-isolation. (If they have answered yes to any of these questions, it is recommended that the inspection be postponed at least 14 days (in accordance with Queensland Health recommendations);
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth at all times when conducting inspections;
- Adhere to occupation density limits.
- Provide signage stating that entry will not be permitted to people displaying symptoms;
- Consider wearing disposable medical-grade gloves before touching any objects and fixtures within the home, especially high-touch surfaces such as door handles, tap handles and window fittings;
- Provide and/or advise the use of disinfectants to attendees prior to and at the end of a rental inspection;
- Politely decline to shake hands or have any other physical contact; and
- Reassure both current and prospective tenants that you are simply following best practice precautionary measures which are not in response to any confirmed coronavirus cases within the agency or immediate area.
Contact information must be kept about all guests and staff for contact tracing purposes for 56 days. This information includes name, address and mobile phone number. The REIQ has developed an Information Collection Notice and Information Collection Form to assist in this process. IMPORTANT NOTICE: From 1am 9 July, the ‘Check In QLD’ app will be mandatory for the real estate industry. Additionally, the previous COVID-Safe Industry Plan for Queensland Real Estate will be revoked. and is instead replaced by the COVID-Safe Industry Checklist. From 1am 9 July, agencies will have to have a signed copy of the check list on display at their places of business, auctions and open home inspections. For more information, please watch the latest video from REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella.
Q: Should I invite clients or tenants into my office?
A: The REIQ recommends sales agents adopt precautionary hygiene protocols in their offices and ask prospective buyers and/or sellers who may be feeling unwell to reschedule after 14 days (in accordance with Queensland Health directives). Recommended hygiene protocols include:
- Display appropriate signage at the reception desk with the specific requirements clearly outlined for all prospective visitors to adhere whilst in your office;
- Provide alcohol-based hand sanitiser and request all on-site visitors use it upon
entering the office;
- Request all visitors refrain from touching anything where practical;
- Maintain social distancing where practical
- Politely refrain from any physical contact with visitors; and
- Do not permit entry to any visitor who is coughing, sneezing or showing any signs or symptoms of illness.
For any upcoming in-office scheduled appointments with prospective buyers and/or sellers, contact them to ensure no one in their home is currently ill or is in self-isolation prior to the meeting.
Q: How can I get a contract signed?
The signing of documents can take place in person provided the hygiene protocols outlined above are followed for prospective buyers and sellers attending your office. An alternative is using electronic signatures which are recognised by law in Australia (Electronic Transactions Act 1999 Cth). There are many online platforms available to choose from.
Q: What tech can I use to keep me selling?
A: Tech executions of forms and contracts: Uploading forms and contracts, filling them in manually, scanning, emailing them through the office email and then waiting for them to be returned via email and the data entered into your CRM and filed properly is a laborious, slow and old-school process at the best of times. With your team working from various locations across town, your paper trail will end in tears. RealWorks integrates with all of the major CRMs and stores your documents digitally. Most forms in RealWorks can be executed using DocuSign. This will allow you to create forms and contracts centrally and share links, keeping paperwork centrally regardless of who in your team needs to access it.
Tech for alternatives to Open Homes: If your sellers are okay with you visiting the property, you can do a quick virtual walk-through with HomeLive or create a virtual tour with Virtual Tours Creator so you can see where people stop and click. But if your sellers barricade the doors, there’s still an option. Check out RealAR. Provide them with a floor plan and your portal listing photos and they will build an augmented walkthrough that will help buyers feel like they’re really there.