British Columbia

Vancouver real estate board tells Realtors to cancel open houses

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver is advising its members to stop hosting open houses and offer virtual showings instead to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

Board recommends members hold virtual showings to maintain social distancing

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver is encouraging its 14,000 realtor members to follow government recommendations on limiting social interactions. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver is advising its members to stop hosting open houses to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

The board issued a media release Thursday encouraging its 14,000 Realtor members to follow government recommendations on social distancing.

Earlier this week, the board also removed the rule requiring that properties listed on MLS be made available for showings.

"Realtors want to do their part to help prevent the spread of illness in our communities and to meet the housing needs of residents in a responsible way," said board president Ashley Smith in the media release.

"We've heard from some in the community who are unhappy that their Realtors are not holding open houses. To those people, we ask for your understanding given the public health crisis we all face today."

Alternatives suggested

The board says anyone who has recently travelled abroad or is unwell should not view a property and should stay home.

It suggests alternatives to maintain social distancing to slow the spread of the disease, including virtual showings, limiting the number of people viewing a property, regular hand sanitizing, and avoiding touching doorknobs and other surfaces.

The Real Estate Council of B.C., a regulatory agency established by the provincial government, advises anyone looking to buy or sell a home to discuss concerns around COVID-19 with a real estate professional.

The agency says it has prepared guidelines for real estate professionals and consumers on their website.

It adds that because some individuals are more vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19 than others, "conversations with real estate professionals should be ongoing and reflect each individual's circumstances."


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