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Freedom Day: Navigating NSW’s ever-changing COVID restrictions

By Juliet Helmke
11 October 2021 | 1 minute read
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Lockdown restrictions across greater Sydney and NSW may be lifting today, but for the real estate industry, the road forward has felt anything but clear. 

Tim McKibbin, CEO of REINSW, joined Tom Panos for an online discussion on Friday, 8 October 2021 to clarify what is allowed in real estate settings across the state with COVID restrictions easing.

As Mr McKibbin noted at the outset of the conversation, things are changing virtually by the hour. He provided an outline for what he understood would be allowed under the state’s new system for implementing restrictions, which came into effect today. Locations will now be broken down into two designations: general areas, which have one set of parameters for commercial and social activity, and stay-at-home areas, which carry greater restrictions.

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General areas will see a greater lifting of restrictions, though Mr McKibbin noted that the orders impacting stay-at-home areas were also somewhat lighter than what people in the “areas of concern” had operated under.

In general areas, agents are allowed to conduct open homes, and live auctions can be held. Anyone conducting these events will need to have a COVID safety plan in place and enforce density limits of no more than one person per four square meters inside, and two square meters outside. Masks must continue to be worn by all participants.

McKibbin recommends all agencies register their COVID safety plans with the state government so that they’re automatically informed if and when any of the parameters change.

In general areas, property styling and photography can go ahead, and tradespeople and cleaners are allowed to come into the property for the purpose of preparing it for sale, so long as they also abide by indoor and outdoor density restrictions.

Open homes and live auctions will not be allowed in locations that are designated stay-at-home areas, though property styling and photography can go ahead, as can onsite listing presentations, private inspections, and online inspections.

This means that the main thing agents need to keep tabs on is what locations have been designated stay-at-home areas.

On the question of vaccination, McKibbin said that in his understanding of the rules – and REINSW has been consulting with Fair Trading to parse the health advice – there was no obligation on agents to restrict participants of open homes and live auctions to only the fully vaccinated.

He noted, however, that agents or vendors would be well within their rights to make vaccination a condition of entry into the property. He suggested that this should be a discussion with each vendor and that agents should help them understand the pros and cons of each side of the coin.

Opening auctions and viewings to unvaccinated participants could carry a greater health risk to the tenant or home owner, as well as other potential buyers who pass through the space; it was flagged. 

On the other hand, locking out the unvaccinated from viewing a home may reduce the pool of potential purchasers, and it’s possible the home might not meet its highest possible price.

In either instance, the CEO has urged agents to make their marketing materials clear to avoid any confusion.

And he cautioned that with so much uncertainty and mixed messages abounding over what is and isn’t allowed, agents should check the changing parameters daily.

 

Freedom Day: Navigating NSW’s ever-changing COVID restrictions
TimMcKibbin reb
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Juliet Helmke

Based in Sydney, Juliet Helmke has a broad range of reporting and editorial experience across the areas of business, technology, entertainment and the arts. She was formerly Senior Editor at The New York Observer.

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