In the announcement of its Stage Three Framework for reopening the province, the Government of Ontario has removed open houses off the prohibited list. Over the last few months many REALTORS® have resorted to digital tools, virtual home tours, and electronic signing of documents which have proven to be both safe and effective. As we continue to navigate through COVID-19, these tools will still be available for use, as well as safe, scheduled in-person showings to help their clients buy and sell homes.
In an effort to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, REALTORS® will use these virtual tools to the greatest extent possible and have alternative ways of marketing your home while still serving you best. Open houses should be used as a last resort for marketing at the seller’s request and approval and comply with all applicable health directives.
Here are some considerations and guide lines for hosting an open house:
- Are you comfortable with hosting an open house?
- What is a practical limit on the number of people allowed through an open house?
- The recommendation is a limit of one group of two people (plus a sales representative if required).
- A clear protocol will be posted outside the home for guests to follow, and information will be distributed electronically if possible
- Self-Screening of COVID-19 may be requested: if you have been ill, have had symptoms of COVID-19, or have come in contact with a person with symptoms or a confirmed case of COVID-19, do not enter the home
- Time Limit: Each group will be limited to a certain amount of time to ensure all guests have an opportunity to see the home
- Guest Limits: the recommended limit is two people plus a sales representative if needed, and homeowners should not be present
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): will be required – masks or face coverings should be worn inside at all times
- Flow of Traffic: stay 6 feet apart if waiting outside the open house, or remain in your car until the home is empty
- Sanitize hands before and after
- Do not touch: interior doors, closet doors, light switches, and do not use the bathroom - the listing realtor will open any doors, blinds, etc., upon request
- Surfaces will be sanitized and disinfected
- Feature Sheets: will be digital only, and will be accessed by email or website
Identifying everyone who attends an open house is necessary to assist with contact tracing if someone in attendance reports they contracted COVID-19. Each attendee will be required to provide a means of contact, however any personal information collected will only be used for the purpose of notifying them of any health concerns.
Disclaimer. The information contained in this post is not meant to be relied upon as legal advice by REALTORS®, or others. Members wishing further clarity or advice should seek independent legal advice specific to their circumstances. Due to the quickly changing regulatory environment during the COVID-19 emergency, this document may not be current or accurate by the time it is read.
The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS®, and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA.
The following link to ‘Public Health Ontario’s Covid-19 Public Resources’ provides specific advice with respect to, amongst other things, mask use, physical distancing, cleaning and disinfecting and situations where self-isolation is necessary:
The Ontario Government’s Resource Page (link below) includes guidance on such things as the use of personal protective equipment, appropriate controls and distancing issues, etc…
Please note that local (municipal) public health officers may have augmented any advice, recommendation and guidance provided by the public health officials of the Province of Ontario.
It is also crucial to note that COVID-19 advice, recommendations and instructions, are regularly revised and so REALTORS® must take all appropriate steps to inform themselves with respect to the current advice, recommendations and instructions.