COVID-19: Information for real estate licensees
REA recognises that the COVID-19 situation is challenging for all licensees. This page has information to help you navigate real estate work during the COVID-19 situation.
Our guidance was last updated on 28 March 2022. Further updates may be made as the situation develops.
Conducting real estate business under the COVID-19 Protection Framework (traffic light system)
General information for all settings
Face coverings are not required outdoors. Face masks are either strongly encouraged or required in most indoor settings, depending on the setting and activity. Please refer to the Unite Against COVID-19 website for more information on face coverings.
The capacity limits in the COVID-19 Protection Framework apply to the single defined space at any time. Limits include all attendees including children, but not workers
Workers include anyone required to operate the business or service, and therefore includes paid and unpaid people
It is the responsibility of the property owner or real estate agent to comply with capacity limits
The requirements of the COVID-19 Protection Framework apply by real estate activity (such as, but not limited to, open homes, auctions, private viewings and inspections). Businesses may need to operate under different rules depending on the activity they are undertaking or meet the more stringent requirements where activities cannot be separated
If you are selling a non-residential property or business you will need to comply with the COVID-19 Protection Framework settings for that sector - e.g., face coverings and vaccines may be mandatory in some cases (e.g health). You must discuss the requirements with your client
Please note that the requirements for open homes and auctions may be different if there is no private dwelling
A defined space is any indoor defined space separated from other spaces. A property is treated as a single defined space and you should make sure that groups do not mingle, particularly at exits and entrance ways
Health and safety risk assessments
Real estate is not required to use the My Vaccine Pass verification process for real estate activities, but may choose to. Generally, real estate operates at the general settings of the traffic light system. However, the rules for events apply to some activities such as auctions/open homes at commercial properties or in a rural paddock, the rules for gatherings apply where the activity occurs at a private dwelling
All agencies are expected to undertake health and safety risk assessments for the workplace to determine whether vaccination for workers is required, and/or what other health and safety controls are required at the workplace and for all real estate activities
Following discussion with the vendor agencies can choose whether to use the My Vaccine Pass process.
For guidance on undertaking a risk assessment see WorkSafe’s risk assessment guidance. Information about worker vaccination requirements is available here: Vaccines and the workplace » Employment New Zealand
Vaccination assessment tool
As real estate isn’t covered by a government mandate for COVID-19 vaccination, we encourage you to do a risk assessment to assess whether your business activities, including real estate agency work should be carried out by vaccinated workers on health and safety grounds. Read more about the Vaccination assessment tool and how it works at business.govt.nz | Vaccination assessment tool
My Vaccine Pass
My Vaccine Pass process may be used as an entry requirement for customers and clients, but until 4 April 2022 there will be restrictions if they do not. If My Vaccine Pass is used all workers involved in the activity must be vaccinated, engagement and consultation with workers should be undertaken. Agencies will decide when to implement the My Vaccine Pass process
Businesses and services may switch between operating under My Vaccine Pass required/not required settings following the completion of a risk assessment, provided that the premise/space is cleaned between groups. You must clearly communicate the settings you are operating under and display required signage.
Where My Vaccine Pass process is used:
- at each point of entry customer/client My Vaccine Passes should be checked, and it is strongly recommended that they are verified
- sufficient workers must be on-site to oversee the process at the point of entry to the property, those workers will need to be vaccinated in order to work on-site where My Vaccine Pass is used
- non-licensed workers can assist in use of My Vaccine Pass at properties but they must not undertake licensed real estate agency work (they must also be vaccinated)
- the NZ Pass Verifier is available to help businesses scan the My vaccine Pass to ensure it is valid
- agencies must display posters advertising if they require people entering to have a My Vaccine Pass, it is recommended that use of My Vaccine Pass process be included in the listing information
- if you use My Vaccine Pass you are expected to check My Vaccine Pass for people on the premises, including all workers assisting
- if a customer/client refuses to or cannot present their My Vaccine Pass for verification they cannot be permitted on-site and should be invited to use remote processes to engage in the sales process
- if you switch between using and not using of My Vaccine Pass at a real estate activity site:
- there must be no mingling of groups
- rooms should be well ventilated
- high touch surfaces such as door handles, should be cleaned between groups
- Everyone, both workers and visitors must be told what the vaccine pass requirements are, including whether the activity is for people with My Vaccine Pass only, or a mix of people with or without My Vaccine Pass
- Agencies should read and be familiar with the information on requiring My Vaccine Passes for entry on business.govt.nz
If My Vaccine Pass process is not used, restrictions apply to some real estate activities under Red and Orange
For each setting REA recommends licensees:
- Undertake a risk assessment to understand the COVID-19 risks and controls required to reduce the risks at each real estate activity
- Prepare a for each property listing. If you do not know the vaccination status of the client/vendor then your plan should proceed on the basis that they are not vaccinated
- Confirm with the client/vendor/tenant whether they consent to unvaccinated people coming onsite as part of the sales process or whether all onsite activities must be subject to My Vaccine Pass verification process. Allow for cleaning and other processes. You will need to ensure that this is documented and a plan for meeting this requirement is prepared and followed
- Document the safety plan and sales approach for signing by the vendor at the time the agency agreement is signed. The document can set out the health and safety controls to be used for the sales process, including whether My Vaccine Pass will be used, the requirements for wearing face coverings, the processes to be used for unvaccinated people, and may include an acknowledgement/waiver if the vendor has refused to allow unvaccinated people through the property
- Agree a marketing plan with the vendor that addresses the issue of whether unvaccinated people can visit the property, and the steps that will be taken to address any health and safety risks
- Have a plan to enable unvaccinated people to participate in the real estate process, subject to the vendor’s consent e.g. allowing time for unvaccinated people to view, cleaning between visits/viewings, and undertaking inspections including using remote processes
- Inform unvaccinated potential purchasers who do not physically visit the property of the risks of purchasing sight unseen. You could suggest they nominate someone vaccinated to physically view the property for them
- Agree on a marketing plan with the client/vendor that ensures your fiduciary obligations are met and all potential purchasers and parties are treated fairly.
General health requirements for all settings
Minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission as per your health and safety obligations
Recommend the use of face coverings and physical distancing
Follow Government hygiene protocols
Encourage all people entering/leaving the workplace to sanitise their hands, use contactless processes where possible
No one should attend the office or a property or engage in real estate activities if they have cold/flu like symptoms, are self-isolating, are awaiting a COVID-19 test result or are a household contact.
Last updated 29 March 2022