As New York City looks ahead to phase two of reopening, the city’s leading real estate trade group released this week safety recommendations for brokers to follow when conducting deals. Following public health protocols, the six guidelines created by the Real Estate Board of New York encourage face masks and social distancing, virtual preliminary meetings, appointment-only showings, and electronic contracts. Plus, REBNY created a COVID-19 screening questionnaire for all parties attending in-person showings to sign.
“Protecting the health and safety of consumers, agents and brokers while simultaneously rebuilding our City’s economy is critically important,” REBNY President James Whelan said. “The real estate industry has traditionally relied on in-person interactions for much of its business, so the ongoing Coronavirus crisis has required our industry to rethink and retool to safely conduct business in the coming months.”
The guidelines put forth by REBNY outline how brokers can make deals related to office and rental leasing, commercial and residential sales, and residential rental and new development leasing and sales, while following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Contol and Prevention, and the state and city health departments.
The group’s six key recommendations include maintaining six feet of distance, cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched spots, and wearing face coverings during all in-person meetings. Virtual meetings with clients ahead of viewing the space are encouraged, with all in-person business executed only when necessary.
For showings, brokers should only allow them on an appointment-only basis, with one party inside the property at a time. Showings will only be allowed in vacant or unoccupied properties.
According to REBNY, the COVID health screening questionnaire should be given to all parties attending the in-person showing within 24 hours of the meeting. The form includes three questions that ask whether the attendee has had contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus or has symptoms, whether they have tested positive for the virus in the last two weeks, and whether they have experienced any COVID symptoms in the last two weeks.
If the answer to any of the questions is “Yes,” that person will not be allowed to attend the in-person showing.
REBNY, along with 32BJ SEIU and the Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations, also issued guidelines this week for owners and property managers of residential buildings to follow. Some of these recommendations include providing building workers with PPE, conducting daily health screenings of employees and visitors, making contactless entry and exit possible, installing hand sanitizer stations in common areas like elevators and lobbies, and more.
“Doorpersons, supers, porters, handypersons and all building service workers have been vital to allowing NYC residents to shelter in place, saving thousands of lives in the process,” Kyle Bragg, president of the 32BJ SEIU, said.
“Our highly-trained members are an important part of reopening and deserve PPE, safe staffing levels and other protections on the job as they safeguard the city’s residents. By supporting essential building service workers, we protect everyone in our community,” Bragg said.
Guidelines for reentering commercial buildings during phase two of the city’s reopening–put together by REBNY and a number of labor unions–can be found here.
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