By: Jean-Adrien Delicano -
As reports surface of condominium buildings refusing to permit real estate showings during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) is clarifying for REALTORS®, building managers, home buyers and sellers that real estate services are on the provincial government’s list of ‘essential services.’ In-person real estate showings are permitted as long as real estate professionals follow provincial and local public health guidelines on social distancing and other safety measures.
The Ontario Real Estate Association (“OREA”) strongly encourages our Members to counsel their clients to postpone any non-urgent real estate business until after the COVID-19 State of Emergency has been lifted. However, some families and individuals will still need to urgently buy or sell homes including those who have lost their jobs, had a death in the family or who have already purchased a home and need to sell their current home to meet financing obligations.
“OREA urges its Members to follow provincial guidelines around physical distancing and strongly recommends that no face-to-face business is conducted,” said Tim Hudak, OREA CEO. “We have recommended that Realtors work with their clients to find technological alternatives through virtual showings, video conference calls and digital signings. However, for many people in dire circumstances who need to buy or sell a home, an in-person showing is a necessary part of a real estate transaction.” Condominium managers should allow in-person real estate showings in their buildings. Realtors will continue to prioritize the health and safety concerns of tenants, building occupants and the general public.
In-person open houses are not permitted during the State of Emergency. The ability of Realtors to do in-person showings during the State of Emergency is supported by the Real Estate Council of Ontario (“RECO”), the delegated administrative authority in the Province, for the regulation of real estate. RECO’s recommendation is “that brokers and salespeople follow the direction of health officials by limiting showings to situations where they are absolutely necessary.” You can read more about RECO’s position here.