File picture: Richard Vogel/AP.
File picture: Richard Vogel/AP.

Estate Agency board publishes level 3 guidelines for agents

By ANA Reporter Time of article published Jun 14, 2020

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Johannesburg - The Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) has produced a set of guidelines to assist employers, employees, and the public on how to conduct business safely during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Estate agents are encouraged to conduct virtual property tours and record offers to purchase electronically as part of the real estate industry returns to work under Covid-19 level 3 regulations, the EAAB said in a statement on Sunday.

Physical viewings of no more than two people should only be done when a buyer or tenant had expressed definitive interest in a particular property, and it should be kept brief and in line with Covid-19 health regulations.

EAAB CEO Mamodupi Mohlala said the guidelines were important tools to ensure that the industry and the public knew "how to say alert, contain the virus, and save lives while observing the requirements to carry out their duties".

The guidelines were designed in line with various legislative instruments, including the Disaster Management Act, the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Covid-19 regulations, and the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.

It detailed risk management and risk mitigation processes, prevention, and control protocols, setting up a Covid-19 response team, protocols on identification of infected individuals and confidentiality requirements. It further gave guidance on how to conduct meetings, fulfil contractual obligations, and how to deal with issues of compliance, the EAAB said.

Central to the guidelines was ensuring the health and safety of everyone along the value chain, including observing physical distancing and good hygiene, wearing personal protective gear at all times, and regular cleaning and disinfection of surfaces, and offices. It also detailed the protocols to follow when dealing with suspected Covid-19 cases, the reporting lines, and how to assist staff if they tested positive and preserve confidential health issues of individuals.

Another key guideline for estate agencies was the appointment of a designated Covid-19 compliance officer to ensure compliance with policies and procedures, education and training of employees, and to facilitate the implementation and management of processes put in place to curb the spread of infections, the EAAB sai in the statement.

Regarding interactions with clients, the guidelines include:

- All potential clients must receive all the safety protocol information prior to a viewing and must agree to adhere to these protocols at all times;

- Estate agents may not travel with clients in the same vehicle to view the property;

- Clients who refuse to sanitise their hands prior to entering a property for viewing should not be granted access to the property;

- Estate agents and potential clients are to ensure that where possible there is no touching of any surface or object in the property; and

- Estate agents must confirm that they have observed their clients and are satisfied that they are not displaying any symptoms associated with Covid-19,  including coughing, a sore throat, red eyes, shortness of breath, and weakness.

The guidelines would be updated regularly in line with any legislative changes. The complete document is available on the EAAB’s website and will be emailed to all stakeholders on the regulator’s database.

African News Agency (ANA)

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