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Property inspections critical for the health of Victoria’s real estate sector

The Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV) has urged the State Government to allow private one-on-one property inspections as a part of lockdown measure changes expected to be announced this week.

REIV president Leah Calnan has pointed out that many other industries have been offered exceptions to ensure the businesses are able to continue in some capacity and has called on the Victorian Government to consider the same for real estate.

Considering Victorian Government’s exceptions for convenience stores, restaurant takeaway, retail click and collect, and government infrastructure works, Ms Calnan reminded the government that banning property inspections impedes any changes people need to make to their living arrangements.

Ms Calnan said the property sector has repeatedly called on the Victorian Government to remove the unnecessary restriction and allow for one-on-one private inspections. 

“These are very significant long term financial decisions being made by people, and we must ensure that they have the ability to make informed decisions,” Ms Calnan said.

“It’s indisputable that inspecting homes is a fundamental aspect of property transaction due diligence. Without it, buyers and renters are flying blind – it’s just unrealistic to expect people to lease or buy a property without seeing it.

“It’s also important to remember that the decisions people make about housing have a major impact on their physical, mental and financial health and wellbeing, which are all very real concerns Victorians are coping with following 200 plus days of lockdown.”

The REIV notes one-on-one inspections can be conducted safely with measures such as:

  • inspection by prior appointment only;
  • maximum two adults and one real estate agent/representative;
  • declaration that attendees have not visited a Tier One or Tier Two exposure site in the 14 days prior;
  • prior approval from any occupants; and
  • 15-minute appointment blocks, with time allowed either side for cleaning.

REIV CEO Gil KingĀ said the property sector hasĀ had tried and tested procedures in place for inspections by appointment since 2020.

“Private one-on-one inspections are both essential for buying and renting and are free from any significant risk,” Mr King said. 

“Lockdown regulations that ban property inspection by private appointment have a crippling effect on the property sector, impacting renters, aspiring homeowners and mum and dad investors.

“Common sense must prevail. Housing is critical for health and safety, there can be no doubt about this.”

Current COVIDSafe measures for property inspections include: 

  • masks required, unless an exemption applies;
  • disinfection and cleaning before and after inspection;
  • no touching of surfaces during the inspection; and
  • QR code and paper record-keeping for contact tracers.

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