With news of the coronavirus COVID-19 dominating daily headlines in the news, The REIACT recommends implementing practical preventative measures to ensure the continued health and safety of both staff and clients. To stay informed about public health recommendations related to the coronavirus, please visit the Department of Health here for the latest updated information.
As an industry, it’s important to be prepared. Most, if not every, role across the ACT real estate industry involves high contact with people, including:
- Administration: Client meet/greets and handling of documents;
- Sales: Auctions, listing appointments and private inspections;
- Property Management: Open homes, property inspections and supplier management.
You may wish to consider the following practical steps for both in and out of the office.
For owners and principals:
- Provide hand-washing facilities that clean, properly stocked and in good working order;
- Provide alcohol-based hand sanitiser, disinfectants, disposable hypoallergenic tissues and cleaning supplies;
- Promote good hygiene practices such as displaying posters on hand washing and respiratory hygiene;
- Keep the workplace clean and hygienic by regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces such as door handles, counter tops and workstations;
- Supply staff working off-site at open homes or attending external meetings with travel-sized bottles of hand sanitiser and gloves;
- Encourage any staff who are sick to remain at home until they’re fully recovered;
- Isolate any staff who become ill in the workplace. Arrange for the staff member to be sent home and advise them to seek medical advice;
- Discourage any staff member who may be considered vulnerable and/or is suffering from illness attending open-homes, inspections, client meetings and other activities that involve client interaction including:
- Pregnant women;
- Elderly people with underlying health conditions;
- People with compromised immune systems;
- People with serious health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or cancer.
For staff (in office):
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water and/or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser and disinfectants on surfaces;
- Cover their nose and mouth with a disposable hypoallergenic tissue or flexed elbow when coughing or sneezing, disposing of tissues immediately after use and either washing their hands or applying hand sanitiser;
- Avoid close contact with anyone who has cold or flu-like symptoms; and,
- Remain home if feeling unwell.
For staff (out of office):
- For agents with private showings, follow up the day before a showing to ensure clients are not unwell or if there’s been any illness recently in the family;
- Wear gloves before touching objects, furniture and fixtures within the home, especially high-touch surfaces such as door handles, tap handles, table/desktops and window fittings;
- Request clients attending open homes and inspections to avoid touching all fixtures, fitting and furniture within the home and instead ask the on-site agent or property manager to demonstrate the functionality of any devices if required;
- Provide alcohol-based hand sanitiser and request all clients use it;
- Provide and advise the use of disinfectants to owners at the end of an open-home;
- Minimise physical contact with clients or owners where possible;
- Reduce documentation handling where practical or consider using tablets for sign-ins;
- Consider including a budget for cleaning/hygiene services as part of your packages for sales and rentals; and,
We cannot give specific advice to individual businesses but, as your peak industry body, we encourage you to consider:
- Reviewing internal policies and procedures and adapting them if necessary
- Cancelling unnecessary staff travel plans
- Deferring open, periodic or other inspections if there is any concern
- Not attending auctions or entering a property if you’re aware there is someone in there or has been in there self-isolating because of the virus (for instance, a tenant or vendor)
- Encouraging auctions to take place in the agents’ office as opposed to on-site
- Reassure clients and owners that you’re simply following best-practice precautionary measures.
The REIACT will provide updated information for the ACT real estate industry should the latest advice and information from the ACT Government change and/or further preventative measures be required within the workplace.
For more information go to ACT Health website here.
For more information about workplace health, visit the WorkSafe ACT website here.
For the latest COVID-19 health alerts from the Department of Health, click here.