Could Vic lockdowns create the risk of an unregulated environment?

Ray White Victoria’s chief executive officer has expressed concern the current lockdown restrictions affecting real estate in Melbourne could result in an unregulated environment where desperate buyers take matters into their own hands.

CEO Stephen Dullens said red-hot demand from buyers and the extended ban on inspections in Melbourne was starting to create unforeseen issues.

“With the lockdowns in Melbourne continuing to extend, we’re seeing more and more customers becoming desperate with an urgent need to buy, sell or lease property,” Mr Dullens said.

“The ongoing ban on physical inspections continues to make these extremely important family and financial decisions almost impossible to make.

“Across the industry, concerningly we are seeing more and more examples of customers taking matters into their own hands.

“We have many examples where prospective buyers have knocked on the door or written notes to sellers, pleading for access to their homes.

“This occurs after being advised by the sales agent that an inspection isn’t possible.”

Mr Dullens said this led to the risk of the creation of an unregulated environment.

“An environment where surfaces aren’t cleaned, social distancing isn’t maintained and contact tracing isn’t possible – presents a substantial health risk to the community.

“After recent productive meetings, we would again welcome the opportunity to engage further with the government to help these desperate Victorian families.”

Mr Dullens’ comments come as the Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV) campaigns to have restrictions such as the ban on one-on-one property inspections lifted.

Last week, the REIV began taking out full page advertisements in metropolitan newspapers as part of a campaign entitled: ‘Locked down and locked out. Mr Premier, please give us our keys back’.

The advertising notes ‘Victorians are being denied their basic right to rent, buy and sell a home…The financial and emotional stress of losing deposits, defaulting on contracts and not being able to secure appropriate living arrangements is leaving families in distress and endangering lives’.

Announcing the campaign, REIV Chief Executive Officer Gil King said banning inspections effectively shut down the property sector.

“Our members regularly convey the severe hardship many of their clients are facing. Suffocating a sector with unnecessary rules is already impacting the health, safety and mental wellbeing of the community and we shudder at the thought of potential longer-term consequences,” Mr King said.

“The REIV is ready and willing to work with the Victorian Government in finding the solutions that enable business to resume while ensuring the safety of all Victorians.”

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Cassandra Charlesworth

Cassandra Charlesworth is a features writer for Elite Agent Magazine with over 15 years’ journalism experience in metropolitan and regional newsrooms. She has a specialist interest in real estate, tech disruption and a good old-fashioned “yarn”.