Last updated: September 21, 2021
The Alberta Government has again declared a state of public health emergency, adding new temporary measures affecting real estate coming into effect, Monday, September 20, 2021.
It is of paramount importance that REALTORS® understand that buyers and sellers are in the best position to determine their own health risks and comfort levels when viewing homes or permitting individuals to visit their homes. For this reason, and within the framework of legal restrictions, you have an obligation to ask your clients questions about how they would like you to handle showings and open houses during the pandemic.
Below are some questions and answers about the current state of real estate to aid in your discussions with clients.
Are masks required for showings and open houses?
Yes, the provincial mask mandate applies to real estate activities. Sellers are not able to waive the provincial requirement for masks.
What if I have a client that is medically exempt from masking?
The restrictions allow for medical exemptions but in the case of showings and open houses, buyers must first obtain the seller’s consent to view the home without wearing a mask.
Are there limits on the number of people permitted to attend a showing?
There are currently no limitation on the number of people permitted to attend a showing unless the seller has given specific instructions to the contrary.
Can a seller use the Restrictions Exemption Program coming into effect on September 20 for showings and open houses visits in their home?
Yes, the Restrictions Exemption Program is available to sellers, and they are able to require REALTORS® and prospective buyers to be fully vaccinated, show proof of medical exemption, or proof of a privately paid PCR or rapid test within 72 hours before entering their home.
Are there any privacy considerations regarding the new temporary measures?
If you or your clients have chosen to participate in the Restrictions Exemption Program, it is of paramount importance that you understand that personal health information is protected by the Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) and any information you gather regarding the vaccine status of an individual – colleague or client – must be held in strict confidence and used only for the purpose for which it was collected. If you do not have written permission to disclose, for example, a colleague’s vaccine status, you may not disclose.
Members should be diligent in protecting this private information by sharing only what is necessary with the clients who require the information. If you are not able to make the visual document verification in person, and vaccine status or exemption records are provided to you electronically, you must establish a system of secure deletion/destruction of those records.
Can a REALTOR® use the Restrictions Exemption Program for their own business?
Yes, an individual REALTOR® is permitted to use the program if they wish to work with only vaccinated or recently tested persons.
What are the current restrictions related to open houses?
Open houses are still permitted at this time. However, masks are mandatory and social distancing must be maintained at all times. Because of this, no communal food or beverage service is permitted.
Are there capacity limits for open houses?
Currently there are no capacity limits, outside of specific seller instructions, except to ensure that all parties can socially distance while in the home.
What are the rules for close contacts, or isolation/quarantine requirements?
Due to rapidly changing rules, AREA recommends you contact AHS at 811 for guidance on your or your client’s unique situation. It is important to always ask the Government of Alberta’s health and safety-related questions and provide those answers to your clients so they can make timely and informed decisions.
Can brokerages remain open for business and client visits?
Each brokerage will be permitted to set their own guidelines regarding their business practices so you will need to discuss your specific questions and concerns with your broker.