San Diego and La Jolla Real Estate - Julia Martin Your Realtor
Open House Clarification
Open House and Showing Rules:
Industry Guidelines On May 12, 2021, the "Industry Guidance: Real Estate Transactions” was amended to allow for open houses with more lenient protocols based on current health guidance and science.
Warning: Check your city or county for more restrictive local showing rules. Revised Open House and Showing Rules
1. Advertising Open Houses: A real estate licensee may advertise open houses without qualifications. This includes in MLS or other places.
2. No Appointments Required for Open House Attendees: The new rules state open houses are permitted and there is no requirement for appointments.
3. Multiple Groups Now Allowed on Property: For both open houses and showings, you may now have more than one individual or connected group of persons on the property. The number of groups or individuals should allow for social distancing between each group. The total number of persons allowed also depends on tier level. [see #8]. The simplest way to approach this is to: a. Have social distancing between households and b. Adjust and limit the number of persons in the property at any given time to achieve social distancing.
4. Face Masks: All visitors must wear masks indoors, even if vaccinated, and comply with the other guidance such as hand sanitizing or washing. You should have extra face masks available for those who do not have one.
5. Sign in: All persons entering should sign-in either digitally or in writing. New form PSI – Property Sign In which can be used for this purpose. The sign-in form should include certain agreements (see 6 a-c).
6. What should the sign- in include?
The sign-in should include a statement that by entering the property, the visitor is agreeing:
a. To Follow the Posted Rules of Entry
b. That they have received a link to or of copy to the Prevention Plan (Form BPPP version5/21)
c. That the visitor is not feeling sick, does not have other COVID like symptoms and has not been exposed recently to someone with COVID to their knowledge.
7. Can I still just use the PEAD-V? Yes. Either the new PEAD-ALL, or the PEAD-V accomplishes all of the above. The Posted Rules of Entry must still be posted. However, a sign-in having the key elements above is sufficient instead of a PEAD form. Note the PEAD forms are now being simplified and combined into one form PEAD-ALL and will be available soon on zipForm and is available now as a pdf on car.org at https://www.car.org/riskmanagement/covidlegaldocs.
8. How can I determine what is the maximum number of people allowed in the property? The main rule of thumb is to have adequate social distancing between different buying parties. For properties in the yellow and orange tiers that, as a practical matter, is the main limitation. You will have to limit entry to ensure that everyone is able to maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance from everyone who is not in their household.
On July 2, the Departments of Public Health and Cal/OSHA released new guidance on COVID-19 including some relating to real estate. While there are some changes in office openings, cleaning protocols and other issues which required minor changes in the BPPP and related forms, they do not significantly change practices.
“Open Houses” on a walk-in basis are still prohibited. All showings still require either an appointment or a digital sign-in process prior to entry including completing a PEAD form. Any such showings still must follow these rules: (1) Have protective equipment made available like masks and hand sanitizer (2) Thoroughly clean all shown properties and disinfect commonly used areas such as doors and door knobs, cabinet handles, switches, etc. (3) Control the number of people in the house by only allowing in one buying party at a time (which could be more than one person). The listing agent and buyer's agent may also be on the property at the same time. (4) All showings require appointments OR digital sign-ins.
Based on this, an advertisement using the term "Open House" alone is likely deceptive as it implies a walk-in basis without the mandatory appointments/digital sign-in protocols that are not typical for an “Open House.” Although it is recommended that no “Open House” signs be used, if they are, they must also include information on the sign or a sign rider indicating that appointments or digital sign-in are required before entry. Of course, the regular protocols of advance digital completion of PEAD forms before entering, social distancing, limitations on persons going through the house at one time, cleaning and disinfecting between each showing, etc. apply. However, any type of traditional open houses -- spontaneous walk-up with no digital sign-in or appointment or adherence to all protocols—would threaten the policy allowing licensees to show property and, worse, threaten the health of the seller and those visiting potentially causing a super-spreader event.
REALTORS® using “Open House” signs or advertisements without the riders about advance appointments or digital sign-in may be subject to ethics discipline for violating the “true picture” test under Article 12 as the common understanding of an “Open House” by the public and the industry does not include advance digital sign-ins or appointments, along with the other protocols that would delay a spontaneous showing. In the end, variations on this would have to be decided by panels, in the context of the COVID-19 rules in place at the time.
As a reminder, cities or counties may be more restrictive than State Guidance and orders. Some local rules prohibit any type of “Open House” or restrict the number of persons who can view the property to two at one time. The more restrictive local rules will supersede the statewide industry guidance and must be followed. Of course, in those jurisdictions prohibiting “Open Houses” altogether, “Open House” signs should not be used at all.