The State of California is experiencing a significant spike in new cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19). This pandemic is far from over, and your professionalism during this challenging time is absolutely critical to our industry being able to maintain its status as part of the nation’s and state’s “essential infrastructure” status. Put bluntly, if ALL our members do not comply with the mandated best practices, expressed as Steps 1-9 immediately below, we will lose out on this opportunity to serve our community. Lack of compliance with these important health and safety measures puts us all at risk: You, your family, your friends and neighbors, your clients, your office, the community, and the standing of our industry in the eyes of public officials. Please, do the right thing and comply will all the measures designed to slow the spread of this dangerous disease. TSBOR urges you to take heed of this warning; either we all embrace the protective practices, or the public’s health, economic viability of your business, and the perception of the Realtor® as the professional in the real estate industry will be gravely damaged. Follow the below “to the letter”, in good-faith, and encourage others to do the same. We can and will get through this public health crisis.
But…IF YOU ABUSE, WE CAN ALL LOSE!
The Department of Public Health and Cal/Osha posted “Industry Guidance: Real Estate Transactions”, which contains a host of rules detailing HOW PROPERTIES MUST BE SHOWN DURING COVID-19.
Step 1: Adopt a “Prevention Plan.” You may use C.A.R. Document BPPP, Mandatory Government Showing Requirements, Including Best Practices Guidelines and Prevention Plan (available within the COVID library in zipForm®), for this purpose.
Step 2: Do not hold open houses or showings that are open to the general public or on a walk-in basis. Use an appointment or digital sign-in process to control the number of people at the house. Showings should be done virtually, whenever possible. Under the Prevention Plan, only one “buying party” may view the property in person at one time.
Step 3: All visitors must sign a PEAD-V form and deliver it electronically to the listing agent in advance. Doing this accomplishes several things: a) It is an agreement that the visitor will comply with the Posted “Rules for Entry Showings” (Form PRE); b) The visitor acknowledges receiving and agrees to the Prevention Plan; and c) The visitor attests they are not, to the best of their knowledge, afflicted with COVID-19, among other things.
Step 4: The Rules for Showings must be posted at the entrance to the property and be clearly visible. Also link to or publish these rules in MLS listings and publicly online. You can add this LINK to your public remarks.
Step 5: The property must be equipped with hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes and face masks.
Step 6: The property must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Commonly used surfaces such as counters, door and cabinet handles, key lock boxes, keypads, toilets, sinks, light switches, etc., must be cleaned and disinfected before and after each showing. The agent who shows the property shall follow cleaning and disinfecting protocols and provide sanitation products unless otherwise agreed. Keep in mind that the brokerage whose plan is being implemented (almost always the listing brokerage) must regularly evaluate the plan for compliance and correct deficiencies identified. C.A.R. Form RLA-CAA can require the seller to pay for the costs of an outside cleaning service. May a seller do the cleaning? If current occupants are present and/or participate during showings, they should adhere to the same cleaning and disinfecting protocols.
Step 7: Open doors and windows, weather permitting, to introduce fresh air. Also, doors and other areas of ingress and egress must be opened to minimize clients touching surfaces.
Step 8: Prior to or immediately upon entry, all visitors must use hand sanitizer or wash their hands with soap and water before touring or inspecting the property.
Step 9: After showing the property, ensure disposable covers (masks and gloves, etc.) are properly discarded after use, for example in a trash bag that is sealed prior to disposal.
To reiterate, we simply must to work together to ensure that vital aspects of real estate marketing and sales are not taken away by our neglect to comply with the guidance provided by our State officials and our State Association (CAR). Please inform yourself, your officemates, or any colleagues who might be engaging in unsafe or imprudent practices in how to best support our industry while protecting our community.
Thank you for your ongoing commitment to professionalism and your support.
Phoebe Landre, President, 2020 Tahoe Sierra Board of Realtors®
John R. Falk, Legislative Advocate, Governmental & Public Relations Consultant
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