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Breaking: Update on Real Estate Activities

Governor Inslee announced that limited, in-person open houses are now permitted in regions that have entered Phase 2 of the state’s Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery plan.

Governor Inslee announced that limited, in-person open houses are now permitted in regions that have entered Phase 2 of the state’s Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery plan. In-person open houses are not currently permitted in Phase 1 regions. Brokers in Phase 1 regions may still conduct virtual or live stream open houses.

In addition, real estate offices in both Phase 1 and Phase 2 regions may allow clients to make appointments for in-person services at the office, provided that office capacity is limited to 25% and all other protocols are followed.  

For in-person open houses in Phase 2 regions, brokers must ensure that no more than ten (10) people are on site, including the broker, and that all other required protocols are followed (face coverings, social distancing, sanitation, etc.).

Firms should develop processes that brokers follow to ensure compliance, including the following:  

  • Post signs at the property (e.g. on the open house signs, at the front door, inside the property, etc.) alerting the public to the occupancy restriction and reminding the public to wear face coverings and social distance.
  • Brokers need to carefully monitor the number of persons on site at any one time and not admit more than the allowed number of persons into the property.
  • Brokers need to constantly monitor the front door and potentially lock the door from time to time to prohibit additional persons from entering.
  • Firms may consider assigning two brokers to an open house – one to stand outside and monitor the number of persons admitted to the property, and the other to be inside the property.
  • Brokers must enforce the face covering requirement.
  • Persons waiting to enter the property must social distance and wear face coverings.
  • Clean and disinfect all surfaces, before and after the open house, and have sanitizer placed around the property.
  • Because contact tracing in the event of an outbreak is important, brokers should maintain a sign-in sheet that includes contact information for all attending an open house.
  • Please keep in mind that the firm and broker hosting an open house are at risk of criminal and civil liability for failure to fully comply with the required protocols.

Washington REALTORS® and the Northwest Multiple Listing Service have revised the FAQ guidance. Please review the downloadable PDF on our COVID-19 Pagefor clarification on which activities are permitted and the protocols required for permitted activities.

If you have questions on this, or any other real estate legal question, email LegalHotline@warealtor.org. The Legal Hotline is a Washington REALTOR® member-only benefit.

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