COVID-19 lockdowns: restrictions and rules breakdown by state

Industry News

COVID-19 lockdowns: restrictions and rules breakdown by state
Posted by
on Sep 03, 2021

Please note, this article may not reflect changes after the 2nd of September and is intended as an outline rather than legal advice. Please read our full disclaimer below.

We have compiled a breakdown, state by state of the restrictions enforced by the government for real estate (currently at 2nd September 2021). From inspections to auctions to allowing access for maintenance, several rules have been put in place which impact Property Managers.

Despite surging vaccination rates and tough lockdown measures already enforced in NSW, Victoria and the ACT, these states will remain in lockdown for the foreseeable future. 

What does this mean for Property Managers and the wider real estate industry?

New South Wales

sydneyy

NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian announced a statewide lockdown from 5 pm on Saturday 14 August. 

As part of these “stay at home” orders, residents across NSW must stay home and may only leave during lockdown if they have a reasonable excuse, such as groceries, exercising, for medical or compassionate reasons, or to work if they cannot do so from home. You are also not allowed to travel further than 5km from your home at this time.

Rules and restrictions for NSW real estate

  • In-person auctions and open homes are banned during the lockdown, but they can instead take place online
  • Private inspections are still allowed by appointment but are limited to one real estate agent and one buyer at a time. Face masks must also be worn
  • Property Managers, landlords or another person authorised by the landlord, cannot enter rental properties in areas of concern to carry out or assess the need for non-urgent repairs, maintenance and cleaning
  • In all other areas of Greater Sydney and the rest of NSW non-urgent repairs, maintenance and cleaning can take place in the residential premises if only two workers complete the work, without the residents present, or up to five workers complete the work outside.
  • Anyone from Greater Sydney must obtain a permit to inspect real estate in regional NSW. They can only inspect real estate in regional NSW if it is a home to live in – not an investment property
  • Routine inspections and visits by third parties are not allowed under the current public health orders unless they are needed for urgent health and safety reasons
  • All Property Managers and agents must ensure that an inspection or viewing of any NSW property is conducted in compliance with a relevant COVID-19 Safety Plan

Victoria

Victorian premier Daniel Andrews announced this week that the statewide lockdown, which was initially scheduled to end at 11.59 pm Thursday 2 September, will be extended. 

As part of these new restrictions, residents can only leave their home to buy essentials, such as food or medicine, for compassionate reasons, to get vaccinated, for authorised work (with a permit), or for permitted education or exercise. A curfew and 5km rule has also been introduced, meaning people in greater Melbourne must stay home between 9 pm and 5 am and can only travel within 5km of their home.

Rules and restrictions for Victorian real estate

  • In-person inspections are banned during the lockdown and can only be conducted online
  • In-person auctions are banned during the extended lockdown with all auctions moving online
  • Property Managers and agents must ensure that an inspection or viewing of any Victorian property is conducted in compliance with a relevant COVID Safe Plan
  • Property Managers and property owners can attend a final inspection – including end of lease and settlement activities – of real estate for the purposes of a prospective sale or rental of the property that cannot be deferred
  • New owners and renters cannot attend a premises for the purpose of signing a contract. Contracts should be signed remotely
  • Maintenance and repair activities can only be completed for emergency reasons and/or to meet environmental or safety obligations.
  • Routine and non-urgent maintenance and warranty work are not allowed until after the restrictions are lifted

South Australia

Level 1 restrictions are currently in place across South Australia, meaning that the 1 person per 2 square metres rule is enforced, 20 people are permitted into residential properties and masks be worn in high-risk situations, such as on transport, personal care and health care services.

Unlike NSW and Victoria, home inspections and live auctions are allowed to take place at this time. 

Rules and restrictions for South Australian real estate

  • Real estate agents must have a COVID-safe plan in place, including an approved contact tracing system such as a QR code
  • Strict hygiene standards must be maintained at inspections and auctions, such as hand sanitiser available
  • Open homes and inspections must adhere to the one person per four square metre rule
  • In-person inspections may take place from the landlord or Property Manager, provided they maintain the one person per four square rule
  • All repairs, maintenance and cleaning can take place in the residential premises, as long as social distancing is maintained

Queensland

brisbanee

The entire state of Queensland moved to stage 3 level restrictions at 4 pm Friday 27 August 2021, which permits up to 100 people in your home, 1 person per 2 square metres and mask-wearing when physical distancing isn’t possible.

As part of these restrictions, home inspections and in-person auctions are allowed to take place, with considerations.

Rules and restrictions for Queensland real estate

  • Open house inspections and auctions are permitted under the one person per two square metre rule indoors. If the space is less than 200 square metres in size, then the one person per two square metre rule will apply, up to 100 people
  • Masks must be worn unless you can stay 1.5 metres away from others
  • Open house inspections and auctions must operate in accordance with a COVID Safe Checklist
  • There are no density restrictions for outdoor auctions
  • On-site inspections are limited to one person per two square metres indoors
  • Contact information must be collected using the ‘Check In Qld’ app

Western Australia

WA remains in a State of Emergency, but there are no longer any capacity restrictions on open homes and inspections, provided they follow COVID-safe measures.

Rules and restrictions for WA real estate

  • Open homes and inspections must have no more than one person per two square metres
  • Real estate agents are also required to maintain a mandatory contact register for staff and visitors and must follow social distancing and hygiene requirements
  • In-person inspections may take place from the landlord or Property Manager, provided they maintain the one person per two square metres rule
  • All repairs, maintenance and cleaning can take place in the residential premises, as long as social distancing is maintained

Northern Territory

Lockdowns in the Northern Territory have eased, which means that home inspections and in-person auctions are allowed to take place. 

Rules and restrictions for NT real estate

  • On-site auctions and inspections are permitted. Residents from Greater Darwin and Katherine must wear masks if they’re unable to maintain a distance of 1.5 metres from others
  • All people must check in to all open homes, auctions and inspections using the Territory Check-In App, no matter how long they spend at the venue
  • Gatherings of 100 to 500 people require a COVID-19 safety plan
  • In-person inspections may take place from the landlord or Property Manager, provided they maintain a distance of 1.5 metres
  • All repairs, maintenance and cleaning can take place in the residential premises, as long as social distancing is maintained

Thanks for reading this blog all about how lockdown will affect Property Managers!

Disclaimer

This article covers rules and restrictions up until the 2nd of September. Any further updates made to the COVID-19 restrictions, rules and lockdowns beyond this date may not be reflected in this article.

The content on this site does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. You should seek legal advice or other professional advice in relation to any particular matters you or your organisation may have. The author assumes no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions in the content of this site. The information contained in this site is provided on an "as is" basis with no guarantees of completeness, accuracy, usefulness or timeliness.