As we have done during the entire pandemic we are endeavouring to keep you as informed of developments as we are able to.
Recently we have received a significant number of enquiries relating to the announced easing of restrictions in Melbourne specifically in relation to real estate inspections from Members seeking clarification about if and how this applies specifically and individually to property valuation. Unfortunately, we have been unable to provide guidance on this and have struggled to get clarification from the Victorian Government despite many enquiries. It has been difficult to identify when and how to properly communicate to Members as we have been optimistic that clear clarification would have been provided by now. Frustratingly, this has not been the case.
Having looked specifically at what advice has been made publicly available which you can access here, under the heavily restricted conditions the following is permitted;
- On site property viewings (commercial and residential)
- Property marketing, sales and rental activities that cannot be done remotely.
Whilst we cannot explicitly advise if property valuation relating to the sale of a property is permitted under these definitions, we do encourage our Members to seek clarification themselves should they have concerns about restrictions to practice.
In the meantime, we wanted to update you on our efforts to seek explicit advice for our Members.
When work restrictions were initially introduced we commenced discussions with the Australian Banking Association (ABA) to identify valuations required by banks for mortgage purposes as being allowable as an essential support service for the banking and financial sector. On behalf of Members undertaking work in the legal, insurance and government sectors, we also sent two written pieces of correspondence directly to Premier Daniel Andrews and another to the Attorney-General and followed up with repeated phone calls.
Like so many of you, we have also tried to access information through the Victorian Government’s Business Victoria COVID-19 hotline – to no success. They are unwilling to provide the advice we need for you.
For those seeking to undertake family law work, we broadened the sources of advice and approached the Family Court, the Legal Services Commissioner and the Law Institute of Victoria, to clarify whether they knew if these activities could go ahead.
We have appealed for assistance from the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry to navigate the government’s restrictions.
In this last fortnight we worked with REIA to try and get clarification through the Treasurer’s office about how non-bank valuations are classified. While we now have a conduit to government, those discussions are still ongoing.
Unfortunately, despite our best efforts and numerous back channel initiatives we have not been able to get clarification on any of the questions we have raised and are therefore unable to provide the answers you are seeking.
Similar to yourselves we are disappointed, frustrated and unsure of the current situation. COVID-19 is extremely complex and whilst we understand that our focus may not be the same as the departments we are engaging with, we were hoping that we would be able to provide this information to you in a timely manner. Nevertheless, we felt that whilst we had no new information, we could at least share with you what we have tried to do behind the scenes to advocate for our Members.
We are continuing to champion your cause and will get any information to you as soon as we can. Whilst this is not the answer you may have hoped for, unfortunately the situation is continuously evolving and very complex, so we appreciate your support and your patience as we try to work with the relevant departments and bring clarity to you.
Rest assured we will provide information as soon as we have it available.
In the meantime, we encourage practicing within identified guidelines, and exercising caution and due diligence when conducting permissible valuations either via virtual valuation protocols, or where necessary physical inspections.
For the most up to date information please visit our COVID-19 Hub.
CEO, Australian Property Institute
Posted on October 19, 2020
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