Level 3 requirements for estate agents
Updated: Jul 3, 2020
The new regulations relating to Level 3 arrangements have been published. Note that these new regulations do not repeal the 29 April 2020 regulations, and these must therefore be read together to get the full picture. As from today, 1 June 2020, the entire country will move into Alert Level 3 except for a few excluded industries and sectors. In addition, the COVID-19 metro and district hotspots were identified. Read the Alert Level 3 lockdown regulations here.
With regards to the real estate industry, it is now permitted to return to business, however the "social distancing" requirement remains that only the minimum necessary staff should attend an office at any one time.
Except for the estate agency business itself requiring the CIPC Certificate, no other permits are required by estate agents for general travel from the home to the office, or from the office to a client’s property as long as such travel does not cross provinces, metropolitan areas, districts and hotspots in which case a travel permit will be required to be issued by the head of the estate agency business.
All Occupational Health and Safety provisions remain in force similar to the ones which applied during the lockdown and alert Level 4.
The main obligations of estate agency businesses, estate agents and any agency employees in the performance of their real estate duties and contact with clients are:
Everyone (agents, their clients and staff) must wear a face mask at all times in a public space.
As business owner/employer:
Employers must provide a face mask to those employees who may come into contact with members of the public as part of their duties.
Every business owner/employer must determine the area of its floor space and based thereon, determine the number of estate agents/employees/clients that will be allowed at the premises at a given time. Should queuing be necessary, steps must be taken to ensure that persons queue at least 1½ metres apart.
Business owners/employers must provide hand sanitiser for use by the public and employees at the entrance to the premises.
Business owners/employers must appoint a compliance officer who must monitor compliance with the regulations and the business’ COVID-19 policy document. (Contact our offices in the event that you require assistance with the drafting of your COVID-19 policy)
Business owners/employers must adopt measures to promote physical distancing, including enabling estate agents/employees to work from home, alternatively minimising the need for estate agents/employees to be physically present at the workplace; restricting face to face meetings; and they must implement special measures for estate agents/employees with known health issues as well as for estate agents/employees who are above the age of 60 years.
Viewings & number of persons involved:
Apart from the aforementioned requirements which ultimately require the exercise of utmost care and promote social distancing, including avoidance of face to face meetings as far as possible, there is no additional restrictions on doing a viewing or on the amount of people attending the viewing.
Entering homeowners’ associations, sectional title schemes:
Some estate agents have reported that some schemes are prohibiting them from entering the schemes, arguing that the regulations do not allow “visits”. This is an incorrect interpretation of the regulations. All businesses that are allowed to operate under Level 3, may do so freely, as long as all precautionary safety measures are adhered to. An estate agent visiting a client in an estate is performing his/her duties as an estate agent in terms of a permitted Level 3 service.
The Nelson Bay Metropolitan Municipality has been identified as a COVID-19 hotspot. In order to avoid the Municipality having to endure more restrictive travel and/or operational constraints, or worse, being subjected to alert 4 or alert level 5 restrictions, it is incumbent on everyone to adhere to the "social distancing" and "anti-avoidance" measures at all times.
Real Estate has waited long enough to start working actively again and for this to continue, especially in the hotspots, extreme care should be taken to avoid unnecessary exposure to the virus.
Contact your Kaplans Conveyancer on 041 363 6044 for assistance with any further questions you may have.