Ontario real estate agents urged to stop face-to-face business amid COVID-19 outbreak
Lockboxes, typically used by real estate agents to store keys for apartment and condominium showings, are seen attached to a street lamp outside an area of condo buildings in downtown Toronto, Friday May 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch
TORONTO -- The Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) is urging Ontario’s real estate agents to stop all face-to-face business amid the COVID-19 outbreak and the subsequent provincial state of emergency declaration.
Real estate agents across the province are now being asked to suspend all open houses, agent and public office hours, and in-person showings, particularity of tenant-occupied homes, during the state of emergency.
“In these unique situations, where a property listed for sale is occupied by tenants, the health and safety of those tenants, the realtors and their clients is of utmost priority,” the association said in a news release issued Tuesday.
Instead, the association is calling on its some 79,000 members to use modern technology in situations where a client must buy or sell a property during this time. This includes virtual tours, video conference calls and digital signing.
“Just yesterday, the Ontario Government declared real estate an essential service, in order to permit transactions to close. I want to make it clear that this does not mean business as usual for Ontario’s realtors,” OREA President Sean Morrison said in the news release.
“Why put your health on the line – or the health of your client or community – for showings that can simply be postponed for a few weeks? It’s not worth the risk.”