“Locked Down & Locked Out” The Real Estate Institute Of Victoria Calls For The Premier To Relax Restrictions

“Locked Down & Locked Out” The Real Estate Institute Of Victoria Calls For The Premier To Relax Restrictions
B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine

The Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV), on behalf of the tens of thousands of sector employees and impacted Victorians, has this week mounted a campaign against what it believes are onerous and unnecessary property market restrictions.

On Wednesday (8 September), full-page advertisements in major metropolitan newspapers will display the sector’s concern that one-on-one property inspections cannot be undertaken under current Victorian Government COVID-19 regulations.

“Locked down and locked out. Mr Premier, please give us our keys back,” the advertisement reads, picturing an image of Premier Andrews.

“Victorians are being denied their basic right to rent, buy and sell a home…The financial and emotional stress of losing deposits, defaulting on contracts and not being able to secure appropriate living arrangements is leaving families in distress and endangering lives.”

The advertisement will also be distributed via social media channels and emailed directly to REIV members, who will share the message widely through their networks of property owners, buyers and renters who have been severely impacted by their inability to transact.

It’s expected many will take up the campaign’s call-to-action, which is to write to the Premier directly to help him understand their challenging situations and concerns with the Government’s approach.

Authorised by REIV chief executive officer, Gil King, said: “Ever since the beginning of COVID-19, the REIV, on behalf of the sector, has outlined that private property inspections – residential and commercial – can occur safely.

“We have made dozens upon dozens of representations to the Victorian Government but are repeatedly ignored. We are determined to ensure the message gets through, and if taking a more public stance means the voices of Victorians are heard, then we are prepared to invest resources into that approach.”

The sector’s concern with the Victorian Government extends beyond private inspections. The recently released commercial tenancy relief scheme was considered a ‘one-sided program’ that would put a number of small and medium-sized property owners in financial distress.

Last year’s residential eviction moratorium was put in place by the Government without any discussion with the sector or consideration for property owners.

REIV, president, Leah Calnan said: “When Victorians buy, sell or rent a property, they are making some of the most significant financial decisions of their lives.

“In-person inspection is a fundamental aspect of property transaction due diligence. Without it, buyers and renters are flying blind, and sellers and rental providers aren’t able to position their assets at their best.

“Lockdown regulations that ban property inspection by private appointment are creating an unnecessary burden on the property market, impacting aspiring homeowners and mum and dad investors. Most critically, though, they’re stopping many people from being able to access rental properties so they can put a roof over their heads.

“Banning inspections effectively shuts down the property sector, which rubs salt into the wounds of an industry that has been excluded from government financial support despite its significant economic contribution through the employment of thousands of people and the payment of billions of dollars in taxes.”

King added: “Our members regularly convey the severe hardship many of their clients are facing. Suffocating a sector with unnecessary rules is already impacting the health, safety and mental well-being of the community and we shudder at the thought of potential longer-term consequences.

“The REIV is ready and willing to work with the Victorian Government in finding the solutions that enable business to resume while ensuring the safety of all Victorians.”

In a further effort to get back to business quickly, real estate sector leaders last week banded together on vaccination, issuing a video with a rallying cry for people in property to get vaccinated.

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Gil King Leah Calnan REIV

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