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Government eases Alert Level 2 restrictions

The property management industry will effectively begin a ‘new normal’ from midday on Friday the 29th of May.

The Government has announced that gatherings can increase from 10 to 100 people at Alert Level 2.

That means all property management activity can go ahead, but physical distancing and registration requirements through contact tracing will still need to be adhered to in open viewing situations.

Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern also announced that the government will review the Alert Level 2 stance in four weeks on the 8th of June.

The updated Alert Level 2 guidelines for the property management industry are as follows:

General Safety Precautions for Alert Level 2

– Ensure when you are inside/outside a rent premises or office that you adhere to 2 metre physical distancing.

– Safe hygiene practices are followed, including having the use of hand sanitiser when exiting and entering a tenancy premises or office.

– Sanitise all areas that have been touched.

– Open doors and cupboards if practicable so that viewings or inspections can remain as contactless as possible.

– Minimise the time parties spend at the property or office.

– Queue management processes/ measures to be in place to ensure attendees waiting to enter maintain physical distancing at rental premises or office.

– Ensure all parties remove shoes before entering a tenancy premises.

– Ensure you supply the COVID-19 Registration Form to all parties (applicants, contractors, current tenants) if they attend a property or office for the purpose of contact tracing.

– If any party has been sick in the past 14 days, cancel or postpone the intended activity.

– Retain records of your visit for at least two months in case they are requested by WorkSafe or Ministry of Health.

Routine Inspection for Alert Level 2

– Routine Inspections can take place provided all of the Alert Level 2 General Safety precautions are adhered to.

– The landlord’s insurer may require inspections to be carried out at certain intervals. You will need to obtain this information from your landlords if you are required to reschedule any inspection.

– Ensure you take comprehensive file notes explaining why the inspection is rescheduled.

– Reschedule the inspection as soon as possible after health clearances.

Property Viewings Attendees – Advertising, Registration & Declining for Alert Level 2

– Advertising must be updated directing tenants to apply before a viewing can be confirmed.

– Attendees must have Covid-19 Alert Level 2 safety guidelines and instructions provided, and they must confirm their acceptance of these before a viewing can be confirmed. This is available within the eBundle system, when updating applicants.

– Notify unsuccessful applicants that no viewing appointment can be made. This is available within the eBundle system, when updating applicants.

– Ensure all the General Safety Precautions for Alert Level 2 are adhered to.

Property Viewings for Alert Level 2

– Property viewings can take place provided all of the Alert Level 2 General Safety precautions are adhered to.

– If a property is tenanted, the consent of the tenant is required to hold a rental viewing. Tenant permission cannot be unreasonably withheld, in accordance with Section 48 of the Residential Tenancies Act.

– The number of people in the home at one time must be limited to ensure physical distancing (2m minimum between different bubbles) can be maintained at all times. This may mean staggering access to the property and requiring attendees to wait outside the property until prior attendees leave.

– Vacant properties to be treated the same as if the property is occupied.

– If possible, occupants to leave the property during viewing.

– Home staging can occur.

– Display COVID-19 information and hygiene notices at property, including a statement at the entrance that: Those who are feeling unwell may not enter the property.

– You may wish to provide virtual viewing options for those interested in the property who cannot comply with health requirements.

Property Maintenance for Alert Level 2

– Property maintenance can take place provided all of the Alert Level 2 General Safety precautions are adhered to.

– Tradespeople must comply with health requirements and any Government guidance issued in respect of their industry.

Rental Appraisals and Listings for Alert Level 2

– Property managers may visit properties to carry out appraisals and listings provided all of the Alert Level 2 General Safety precautions are adhered to.

– If visiting the property, the permission of tenants is required where the property is tenanted. Tenant permission cannot be unreasonably withheld, in accordance with Section 48 of the Residential Tenancies Act.

– Property managers could consider holding discussions about marketing plans etc by phone or video call, to reduce personal contact

– Photography/ videography may occur provided all of the Alert Level 2 General Safety precautions are adhered to.

– Home staging is allowed.

New Tenancy and Management Agreements for Alert Level 2

– Agreements can be negotiated and executed in person provided all of the Alert Level 2 General Safety precautions are adhered to.

– Property managers should consider holding discussions by phone or video call, to reduce personal contact

– Parties are to use their own pens.

– Property managers should consider using digital forms of signature if that technology is available.

Property Cleaning & Moving Tenants for Alert Level 2

– Tenants can move to a new house under Alert Level 2, including between regions.

– Ingoing and exit inspections can take place provided all of the Alert Level 2 General Safety precautions are adhered to.

– It is recommended that landlords arrange for professional cleaners to clean a vacant rental property to get it ready for the new tenants.

– Evidence of any cleaning undertaken should be recorded and provided to the incoming tenants if they request this.

– If possible, arrange for contactless delivery of sanitised keys to be provided.

Office for Alert Level 2

– Offices can open to the public, staff and property managers provided all of the Alert Level 2 General Safety precautions are adhered to.

– All businesses are encouraged to work from home if possible.

– Display signage outside/ in the window advising that people who have been unwell with flu-like symptoms, self-isolating or in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the previous 14 days may not enter.

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