The Provincial Government lists Real Estate as an Essential Service

The provincial government announced yesterday that real estate agents are considered an essential service in BC, alongside measures to centralize our healthcare response, ban the secondary resale of essential goods, and secure supply lines.

Other real estate-related essential services include:

Land registration services
Construction work
Professional services, including lawyers and accountants
Insurance services
Building code enforcers and inspectors

The BC Real Estate Association made this recommendation to government prior to the announcement.

What does it mean to be an essential service?  Being an essential service doesn’t mean business as usual.

The recognition grants REALTORS® the privilege to continue to practice real estate in a socially responsible manner in strict adherence to the Provincial Health Officer’s orders.

This includes limiting in-person interaction as much as possible and following physical distancing requirements until the state of emergency is lifted.

BC’s Superintendent of Real Estate Micheal Noseworthy said in a recent letter that the essential service designation means that real estate services are encouraged to remain open, but must follow the guidance provided by the Provincial Health Officer and other relevant government agencies to ensure safe operations and reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.

For example, the provincial government announced on Wednesday that, while the provincial emergency order is in place, landlords are not permitted to enter a tenant’s rental space (for showings, routine maintenance etc.) without the tenant’s consent.

Where consent is granted to access a property by the home owner, and any tenant, you must adhere to the BC Centre for Disease Control’s prevention and physical distancing guidelines.

“If the guidelines cannot be followed, real estate professionals should not conduct the showing,” Noseworthy said.

The provincial government has empowered municipal bylaw officers to enforce the provincial health office’s orders. The City of Vancouver announced they’ll start fining residents and businesses who aren’t following physical distancing practices.