house inspection
House inspection are banned amid Victoria’s lockdown. Image – Canva.
  • REIV argues that banning inspections impedes housing changes people need to make
  • Has recommended safety measures that could be implemented to support this

As the Victorian government considers changes to lockdown measures, the Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV) is advocating for the return of private one-on-one property inspections.

While allowed in Greater Sydney, such inspections are banned in Victoria, despite the state having nowhere near as many cases as its counterpart.

The REIV said given exceptions are in place for convenience stores, restaurant takeaway, retail click and collect and government infrastructure, the same exceptions should be extended to property inspections. Banning them impedes any changes people need to make to their living arrangements, the Institute argues.

“These are very significant long term financial decisions being made by people, and we must ensure that they have the ability to make informed decisions,” said REIV President Leah Calnan.

“It’s indisputable that inspecting homes is a fundamental aspect of property transaction due diligence. Without it, buyers and renters are flying blind – it’s just unrealistic to expect people to lease or buy a property without seeing it.

“It’s also important to remember that the decisions people make about housing have a major impact on their physical, mental and financial health and wellbeing, which are all very real concerns Victorians are coping with following 200 plus days of lockdown.”

Safety first

The industry body said many safety measures could be put into place to facilitate safe inspections such as pre-appointments being compulsory, a maximum of two adults and one agent/representative present, a declaration that attendees have not visited a Tier One or Tier Two exposure site within the previous 14 days and 15-minute appointment blocks with time allowed both sides for cleaning.

REIV CEO, Gil King, said the property sector has used tried and tested procedures for private inspections since 2020.

“Private one-on-one inspections are both essential for buying and renting and are free from any significant risk,” Mr King said.

“Lockdown regulations that ban property inspection by private appointment have a crippling effect on the property sector, impacting renters, aspiring homeowners and mum and dad investors.

“Common sense must prevail, housing is critical for health and safety, there can be no doubt about this.”

The Melbourne auction clearance rates has dived in recent weeks, down to 16.6% most recently, according to SQM Research, while Sydney (which allows private one on one inspections) has kept its rate up around 70%.

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