Showings and meetings during COVID-19 pandemic
Showing homes or holding strata meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic raises new risks for licensees. For example, what if you inadvertently expose a client or member of the public to the COVID-19 virus during an open house or showing and they sue you for damages? What if a strata manager arranges an AGM for a strata corporation and an attendee claims to have contracted the virus at the meeting, then sues the strata manager?
You should know that such claims would not fall within coverage under the Indemnity Plan, as it does not apply to “a claim relating to or arising out of bodily injury to, sickness, disease, mental anguish, mental injury or death of any person.” The Indemnity Plan has never covered this type of claim. Your brokerage may have coverage for these types of claims through a Comprehensive General Liability policy, but you should check with your managing broker or insurance broker to be sure.
Your coverage has not changed as a result of the COVID-19 situation. The terms of coverage are set out in the Indemnity Plan. As always, E&O continues to defend and indemnify licensees against claims for errors, omissions and negligent acts in the course of providing real estate services under RESA. Let us know immediately if you become aware of a claim or potential claim. If you are unsure if a claim is covered, you should report it to E&O at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will review it for coverage.
On March 20, 2020, the Real Estate Council of BC recommended a temporary end to open houses and strata AGMs to protect the public and licensees during the COVID-19 crisis. This has been supported by the BC Real Estate Association and many real estate boards across BC.
The Real Estate Council of BC has recommended that licensees take a proactive approach to issues as they arise, by listening to your clients’ concerns and clearly outlining steps that you can take to try to resolve them. Remember to document your efforts to resolve issues.
Use common sense and engage in open and transparent communications with clients to resolve any issues that may arise related to COVID-19 in the course of providing real estate services. The health and safety of all concerned – clients, members of the public, and real estate professionals – is the highest priority.