Nothing protects agents from liability if personal items go missing during an open home, according to recent research.
After conducting an investigation into the issue, director and principal at the Australian College of Professionals Rosy Sullivan found there was nothing protecting agents.
“They’re inviting people [into the home] so it’s not technically theft because it’s not somebody breaking into a property and taking things, therefore insurance won’t cover that,” she told Real Estate Business.
“When insurance won’t cover it, vendors will then turn to the agent to cover it. The responsibility is for the agent to warn the vendor and then the responsibility of the vendor is to take heed of the agent and do what the agent says."
Have you experienced theft during an open home? What was the outcome and how did you deal with the situation? Tell us below.
Ms Sullivan said that her research found one company that specialised in insurance and security for open homes, called Open Homes Insurance and Security.
“For a small fee, you can insure against theft and damage. Under $300 you can cover yourself for $5,000 worth of theft at open homes," she said.
“When some of those higher properties are spending $10, $20, $30 thousand-plus on marketing, another $295 is nothing.”
To protect themselves, Ms Sullivan recommended agencies implement three practices:
1. Making known to the vendor the risks of having an open home via a brochure or a small booklet detailing the steps they could take.
2. Assisting the vendor in making preparations for the open home, such as making sure the vendor put away any valuables that could easily be taken.
3. Considering the size of the property and the possible number of attendees at the inspection, and ensuring there are adequate numbers of staff on site.