Victorian real estate agents launch campaign for safe reopening

The supreme body representing Victorian real estate agencies is calling on the state government to ease what it sees as onerous and unnecessary restrictions on the real estate market.

The Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV) has launched a statewide campaign today on behalf of tens of thousands of industry employees, using full-page ads in major newspapers to show collective frustration with restrictions on in-person property inspections.

“Locked up and locked. Prime Minister, please return our keys, ”the ad said, with a picture of Prime Minister Andrews.

Leah Calnan, president of REIV, said the state government’s ban on in-person inspections was having a significant effect on real estate agencies, with spring auction campaigns down 90% from levels standard.

“We see business owners having to make very difficult decisions to lay off employees. The financial impact on these businesses is enormous, ”Calnan says.

The Victorian government has so far indicated that in-person inspections may resume for vacant properties after 70% of the population have received a dose of the vaccine, which should be the case before September 23.

But Calnan says the easing of restrictions should be extended to also include COVID-19 safety inspections for all residential and commercial properties, whether or not there are people living there.

“Housing should have been deemed essential at the onset of the pandemic, but it was not for some reason by the state government,” she says.

Calnan is also calling on the government to allow photographers and stylists to return to work by September 23 for in-person inspections.

“There’s no reason these companies can’t safely walk into a property, photograph it and style it for inspections,” she says.

“Officers have been able to demonstrate over the past 18 months that they can perform inspections safely and that they have all COVID-19 safety plans in place.”


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