Your Real Estate COVID-19 questions answered

COVID-19, Journal,

There has been a lot happening in the COVID-19 space this week. Real estate agencies in some parts of Queensland are subject to a lockdown while everyone will have to obey new rules regarding QR Codes and the COVID Safe Checklist from 9 July 2021.

Resolving QR Code confusion

By 9 July, all agencies will need to have adopted use of Queensland Health’s Check in Qld app. Each agency will need to obtain a QR Code for their place of business. Professionals who run open homes and auctions do not have to obtain a QR Code for each property they manage. This was originally proposed, however the REIQ raised concerns about the practicality of this and we were able to negotiate an alternative solution as outlined below.

When it comes to open for inspections or auctions, each real estate professional responsible for that property will need to individually register for their own QR Code. That individual real estate agent or salesperson must then carry and display that QR Code at every open home or auction they are responsible for. When people come into that property, they will need to scan the QR code and register.

Real estate agencies may separately still collect data for marketing purposes using your preferred method of collection.

You’ll need to keep comprehensive records of open home/auction times and dates in case Queensland Health needs to contact you for contact tracing purposes. Holiday letting arrangements will need their own QR Code. Please ensure you register for the app by 5 July as processing can take three days.

For more details about how to register for and use the app, please see my video.

Displaying the COVID Safe Checklist

By 9 July, you will need to have downloaded the COVID Safe Checklist. The checklist must be completed and on display at your office and properties and premises where real estate activities are being conducted (eg. open inspections and auctions).  The checklist outlines measures you need to introduce to keep staff and customers COVID safe and replaces the Queensland Real Estate COVID Safe Industry Plan.

You can find out more and download the checklist here.

Latest lockdown update

South-East Queensland and Townsville LGAs are subject to a lockdown this week with the situation due to be reviewed this Friday.

Agencies in these areas cannot stage open homes or auctions during the lockdown. You can of course revert to virtual options where permissible. If you can’t complete essential work from home, you can do it in the office.

Obligations to satisfy legal requirements can proceed, such as a settlement of property and handing over keys in accordance with tenancy agreements etc. We believe that building and pest inspections form part of the legal requirements of a sale process so they can proceed.

The government also advised this afternoon that you can stage a private viewing of a property as long as the two-person visitor rule is observed. That means two visitors or one visitor and the agent can enter the property at one time. You must ensure the visitors’ contact information is collected for contact tracing purposes. Please see my video update on this rule and the government’s updated directions here.

However, the government encourages the sector to  consider the necessity for property viewings during the lockdown given the potential impact to real estate workers, their clients and the industry more broadly.

While the lockdown is due to be lifted on Friday, plan ahead for Saturday. The landscape is rapidly changing so consider back-up options if you are planning to hold opens or auctions. Your lead-up advertising might include the words wording “Subject to COVID requirements”.

For more information on lockdown restrictions, please see my video and refer to our COVID-19 Fast Facts page. Restrictions in Queensland, including rules over the use of face masks, can be accessed here.

REIQ members can contact our Agency Advisory Service and Property Management Support Service on 1300 697 347 if they have further questions.