GUIDANCE FOR REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE PRACTICE
As our Illinois regions move into Phase 3 of the Governor’s restoration plan, many of the now-familiar safety measures remain in place. While some business practices will now be legally permissible, this doesn’t mean that all available options should be immediately employed. With these concepts in mind, consider the legal answer to the questions below, along with suggestions for best practices.
Prior to May 29, 2020, open houses were prohibited per the Department of Economic Opportunity’s (DCEO’s) guidance interpreting the last gubernatorial disaster order.
Q. What is the status of this directive as of May 29, 2020?
A. Beginning on May 29, 2020, real estate brokerages are legally allowed to hold open houses so long as all of the safety measures can be observed. These include limiting groups to ten people or less (including owners and brokers who might be present in the property), social distancing where possible, with face coverings where social distancing can’t be observed and frequent cleaning.
- When conducting an open house, consider having the owner or listing broker open doors including closets and cabinets, turning on lights and opening window coverings to reduce the need to touch surfaces.
- Incorporate a non-discriminatory appointment policy into open house day procedures to cut back on the number of attendees appearing at the same time.
- Restrict access after each showing to allow time for disinfecting areas of the home previous attendees viewed.
- Consider providing gloves and booties to all attendees of an open house and requiring face masks for all persons inside the home, even if social distance is maintained.
Even if legally permissible, brokerages should carefully consider whether open houses are the safest option for their clients, their brokers and consumers. Each attendee brings a different set of contacts into the property.
Brokerage policies should consider incorporating the use of technologies (like virtual open houses) to reduce physical presence for the early stages of marketing properties. Use appointments in a consistent and non-discriminatory manner to physically view the property and incorporate the best practices from above, while keeping the number of contacts smaller.
Showings of Tenant-Occupied Properties
Prior to May 29, 2020, showings of tenant-occupied properties were prohibited per the DCEO’s guidance interpreting the last gubernatorial disaster order.
Q. Are tenant-occupied showings allowed beginning on May 29, 2020?
A. As of May 29, 2020, the legal answer is yes, depending on the terms of the particular lease and/or any local, state or federal requirement to give a certain amount of notice to the tenant(s) prior to showing the rental unit. Any showing, after giving the tenant the appropriate notice, must be done in a manner where all the safety measures are observed, that is, physical distancing, face coverings or any other required PPE, small groups, hand washing and sanitization/cleaning of surfaces.
- Before entering a tenant-occupied unit, obtain the tenant’s express consent before showing a tenant-occupied unit.
A Final Note
We are in continuous communication with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) regarding updated guidance to real estate professionals. We expect the Department to issue its own guidance in the coming days, along the lines of the forgoing advice and recommendations.
Once we receive official, updated guidance from IDFPR, we will make it available to members immediately.