Cal/OSHA Intensifies Regulations for Showing Homes
“As seen in the Real Estate Reality Column in the San Leandro Times & Castro Valley Forum, written by Carl Medford”
Inching closer to June 1st, some potential home buyers and sellers are eyeing the end of Shelter-in-Place (SIP) as a Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card. Nothing could be further from the truth: real estate sales as we have known them have dramatically altered and will remain that way for some time to come.
Until we have an effective treatment regimen or vaccine for COVID-19, the focus for real estate-related activities will be on prevention. Consequently, many current restrictions will remain for the foreseeable future, including NO open houses and personal showings limited to two persons and their agent. Trying to figure out how this will play out longterm has been difficult since the rules are morphing almost weekly.
The last significant change has been the interjection of Cal/OSHA (The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health Administration) into home sales. According to their website (https://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/), Cal/OSHA’s mission states “protects and improves the health and safety of working men and women in California and the safety of passengers riding on elevators, amusement rides, and tramways.” A quick scan of their website reveals nothing real estate specific per se, so how might they be involved?
Under the guise of safety, Cal/OSHA has issued directives concerning access to real estate sales. First, they have mandated that a placard be placed on the entry of every home for sale specifying obligatory safety precautions that must be met while accessing the home. These currently include wearing masks and gloves (booties are no longer required and gloves may soon become unnecessary), washing or disinfecting hands prior to and after viewing the home, practicing social distancing and avoiding touching any surfaces inside the dwelling. Additionally, for those who might not have their own personal protective items, homeowners or listing agents are tasked with providing sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, gloves, masks and a trashcan for used items.
Second, guidelines have been handed down mandating the cleaning and disinfecting of properties both before and after showings including counters, door and cabinet handles, lock boxes, keypads, sinks, light switches and more. They also state that during a showing, fresh outside air be allowed to enter the property (ie. leaving the front door open).
The good news is that even with COVID-19 restrictions, significant inventory shortfalls are causing most homes to sell quickly. Multiple offers are also helping keep prices up. Stay tuned as we continue providing updates … in this new Real Estate Reality.
Carl Medford is a licensed Realtor with Keller Williams Realty and a licensed general contractor. This article is sponsored by the Central County Marketing Association.