AA - May 2020

Author:  property24
10 May 2020

Estate agents can now apply for an essential services permit to perform inspections  

While it might not be back to work as usual just yet, estate agents can register as an essential service provider to facilitate incoming and outgoing inspections – now that the once-off movement to relocate has been put into effect.

The permit is limited to “only providing support to other Alert Level 4 services, where work-from-home is not possible”, says Michelle Dickens, MD of TPN Credit Bureau.
 
The allowance is made under Disaster Management Act, Regulations Table 1 Alert Level 4:
 
Part H: Financial and Business Services.
2. Essential Financial Services may operate “only when the operation of a place of business or entity is necessary to continue to perform those services.
ii. the payments environment
 
It specifically relates to estate agents who are required to facilitate the handover of keys, as well as incoming and outgoing inspections, since the amendment of Alert Level 4 restrictions now allows people a once off move for change of residence, up until 7 June. 
The agents are also proving essential financial services support with these inspections adds Dickens, which would either allow deposits to be captured or released accordingly. 

“Tenants who are permitted to relocate will require a handover of keys to the premises, as legally required in terms of the Rental Housing Act (RHA). Landlords and tenants could arrange to perform the handover of keys at the premises and ensure proper social distancing and the use of personal protective equipment.”

It is important to note estate agents are not essential services under Alert Level 4, and are required to work remotely, except for these very limited circumstances.  Under level 3 of SA’s Risk Adjustment strategy commercial real estate operations are permitted. Full Real Estate operations can only resume during Level 2

“TPN recommends that where the estate agent is traveling for the purpose of key handover or inspections that they should have a copy of their identity, permit to perform an essential service and a copy of the tenant’s permit to relocate,” says Dickens. 

Essential service providers must register their business on CIPC and follow the COVID-19 Essential Services steps.  

“The head of the estate agency business should provide the estate agent with the Permit to perform an essential service, this Permit should be signed and stamped by the principal or head of the business.”
 
Employers also have a responsibility towards their employees where functions cannot be performed remotely says Dickens:
  • Where employees come into contact with members of the public, employers must provide their employees with face masks
  • Restrictions on face-to-face meetings
  • Special measures for employees with known health or comorbidity conditions
  • Special measures for employees above the age of 60
  • Provide a designated COVID-19 compliance officer
  • Develop and implement a phased return to work plan

Download  Corona_Essential_Service_Form:

Original article can be viewed here: