COVID-19 Update: April 28, 2021
COVID-19 Restrictions Update
The NSREC attended two meetings with Dr. Strang, government officials, and the NSAR. The industry specific directives addressed in those meetings are as follows:
It is critical that all Nova Scotians limit their movements and comply with all provincial orders. This includes all licensees, buyers, and sellers. Licensees should be conducting inspections and walkthroughs only if absolutely necessary and only if those services cannot be amended to a later date. In all cases, licensees should be attempting to conduct as much of their jobs virtually as possible. It is important to discuss with consumers whether a real estate activity is deemed essential, for example, a consumer whose apartment lease is ending and will have nowhere to live, is considered essential. A consumer who wants to look at a vacation cottage is not. The message from Dr. Strang was clear. We need to slow everything down for a month.
Community travel restrictions are in place province wide. Licensees may move between communities in the course of work only if it is absolutely necessary. This mobility does not extend to consumers. For example, a buyer is not permitted to attend a viewing or an inspection if the property is outside their community. An Agreement of Purchase and Sale does not fall under the travel restriction exemption for legal reasons.
Under no circumstances may individuals who are under self-isolation, be provided with any services that will result in those individuals breaking self-isolation restrictions. Individuals under self-isolation and without symptoms are permitted to leave their residence for one hour a day for outdoor exercise and only within walking or running distance of where they are self-isolating. They must also keep a physical distance of two metres (six feet) from others and cannot enter other buildings.
Sellers have the right to refuse entry to their properties if they feel it isn’t safe to do so. It is our understanding that the NSAR has relaxed the MLS® rule requiring properties advertised on the MLS® System to be available for showings. Sellers who do not wish to show their property can refuse showings and their property will still remain on MLS®. Brokerages will not be penalized for advertising properties on the MLS® System that are not available for showings.
The NSREC has heard that some out-of-province home buyers with signed Agreements of Purchase and Sale with closing dates after May 20th are seeking to amend the closing date to an earlier date to circumvent travel restrictions to the province. Amending the closing date after the travel restrictions were put in place will not exempt those buyers from the restriction and they will be refused entry at the border.
If you are working with a consumer who wants to engage in activities that you feel are unsafe, don’t. Discuss the matter with your broker. If that doesn’t resolve the issue, seek legal advice. If you are aware of individuals who are violating COVID-19 restrictions, contact the police department.
Licensees have a professional responsibility per the Act and the By-law to conduct themselves in keeping with the health and safety of consumers and other licensees.