The peak body representing Victorian real estate agencies is calling on the state government to relax what it says are onerous and unnecessary restrictions on the property market.
The Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV) launched a state-wide campaign today on behalf of the tens of thousands of the sector’s employees, using full-page advertisements in major newspapers to show the collective frustration with restrictions on in-person property inspections.
“Locked down and locked out. Mr Premier, please give us our keys back,” the advertisement reads, featuring an image of premier Andrews.
Leah Calnan, REIV president, says the state government’s ban on in-person inspections is having a significant effect on real estate agencies, with spring auction campaigns down 90% compared to standard levels.
“We are seeing business owners having to make very difficult decisions to stand down employees. The financial impact on these businesses is enormous,” Calnan says.
The Victorian government has so far indicated that in-person inspections will be able to resume for vacant properties after 70% of the population have received one dose of vaccine, which is expected to be by September 23.
But Calnan says the easing of restrictions should be expanded to also include COVID-19 safe inspections for all residential and commercial properties, regardless of whether there are people living in them.
“Housing should have been deemed essential at the commencement of the pandemic but it hasn’t for some reason by the state government,” she says.
Calnan is also calling on the government to allow photographers and stylists to resume work ahead of the September 23 date in preparation for in-person inspections.
“There’s no reason why those businesses can’t safely go into a property and photograph it and style it in preparation for inspections,” she says.
“Agents have been able to demonstrate for the past 18 months that they can conduct inspections safely and they have all the COVID-19 safe plans in place.”