March 26, 2020

Provincial government lists REALTORS® as essential service

The provincial government announced on March 26 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 for British Columbians.

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   

Read the full 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 office’s orders.    

These orders are changing often. Realtors, together with their clients, have an obligation to know and follow them.  

For example, the provincial housing minister announced  on March 25 that, while the provincial emergency order is in place, landlords aren't permitted to enter a tenant’s rental space (for showings, routine maintenance etc.) without the tenant’s consent. Exceptions were given to protect health and safety or to prevent undue damage to the unit. The Residential Tenancy Branch will soon provide more instructions on these changes.  

The provincial government has empowered municipal bylaw officers to enforce the provincial health office’s orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The City of Vancouver will start fining residents and businesses who aren’t following physical distancing practices.   

 “These are uncertain times. Should you need to, contact your local Realtor to discuss how to responsibly achieve your housing and shelter needs amid today’s public health emergency,” Ashley Smith, president of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver said.  

Your Realtor can discuss alternative approaches to in-person interactions, such as virtual showings and other technology-based solutions.   

We’ll continue to follow these developments and share more information as it becomes available. 

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