Even as the country contemplates a move from Level 2 to Level 1 lockdown, Real Estate Business Owners of South Africa (REBOSA) is calling on real estate agents not to relax their Covid-19 safety protocol. According to Tony Clarke, Chairman of REBOSA and MD of the Rawson Property Group, the organisation is committed to ensuring the ongoing protection of all parties involved in real estate transactions, regardless of lockdown level, until such time as Covid-19 is no longer a threat.
“While we celebrate the return of certain freedoms under Level 2 and possibly even Level 1, now is not the time to relax our guard,” says Clarke. “The virus remains prevalent, and it’s up to us to make sure that our buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants are protected at all times when participating in real-estate-related activities.”
REBOSA has published a comprehensive set of Covid-19 Workplace Readiness Guidelines and Templates for use by the real estate industry. Recommended measures include encouraging staff to work from home where possible, implementing strict in-office hygiene controls and regular screening, enforcing social distancing and mask-wearing, and preparing for swift transmission control in the event of a staff member testing positive for Covid-19.
To minimise risk during interactions with customers and members of the public, REBOSA recommends conducting meetings via telephone or video call and utilising electronic documentation wherever possible. Virtual viewings of properties are encouraged, with in-person visits limited to serious buyers or tenants only.
“Wherever possible, we suggest requesting buyers and tenants get prequalified before viewing a property in person, and strictly limiting visitors to two at a time,” says Clarke. “Showhouses are back on the cards again, but require stringent adherence to safety protocol. This includes keeping doors and windows open to maximise ventilation during viewings, making sure all parties wear masks, sanitise their hands on entry and exit and avoid touching any surfaces as far as possible.”
REBOSA discourages agents from travelling to viewings in the same vehicle as clients, recommending all parties maintain a distance of at least 1.5 metres from each other at all times. A detailed log of all private and showhouse visitor details is also recommended to enable transmission tracking if necessary.
“Our REBOSA-recommended safety protocol is extremely comprehensive, and we have every confidence that, if properly implemented, it will go a long way towards preventing the spread of Covid-19 through real estate activities,” says Clarke. “We urge real estate businesses to take the time to familiarise their staff with the latest preventative measures in our guidelines, and educate their clients on the safety standards they will be expected to uphold as well.
“It’s up to us to prevent the spread of Covid-19 under all lockdown levels. Let’s make sure our industry continues to be a leader in the fight against this virus.”