How Essential Are You Really?
In responding to the dual health and economic crisis that COVID-19 has become, the Queensland Government is attempting to strike a balance between allowing businesses to operate and preventing the spread of COVID-19. The question still remains: Where do property managers factor in the equation?
It may have taken a little longer than the Federal Government anticipated, however public opinion has seemingly swayed in favour of stricter restrictions to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. Far from the gruelling lockdowns seen across the drink in New Zealand as well as many other parts of the world, Australia has allowed those businesses to operate that constitute ‘essential services.’ So, is real estate considered an essential service?
Sure, sales agents and property managers are no front line police officers, fire fighters, paramedics or surgeons, but what they do is essential to keeping real estate transacting. And real estate carries a lot on her shoulders – supporting the economy and employment while always the fundamental litmus test for consumer confidence.
There’s a strong sense that the State Government’s reluctance so far to recognise real estate as an essential service may be too much to handle for some as the pandemic continues to spread. But the government’s inaction isn’t surprising in the context of similar inactions of the past six months in which its provided little support for real estate professionals until our voices are heard. The good news is that more powerful voices in the sector than ever before are still calling for recognition, chief among them the Real Estate institute of Queensland.
“Real estate professionals manage close to 600,000 Queensland households through property management services alone,” says Antonia Mercorella, CEO of The Real Estate Institute of Queensland. “This is why It’s critical that the role of real estate professionals are endorsed an essential service so we are able to achieve what the Palaszczuk Government’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Bill 2020 – for property owners and tenants ‘to negotiate in good faith and come up with arrangements that enable them to get through this crisis.’ This is where the role of real estate professionals are needed more than ever as most tenants don’t negotiate directly with property owners.”
There is a critical point that needs to be acknowledged here. The need for a “new script” for real estate. And just like the recognition for our jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s essential. REIQ members will be kept up-to-date should the Palaszczuk Government provide an update or recognition of real estate professionals as essential workers as we continue to navigate this pandemic into the foreseeable future.