How to comply with COVID-safe auctions

The COVID pandemic has dramatically altered the real estate industry, from lifestyle aims to the way properties are bought and sold.

A major change is the practice of COVID-safe auctions and the rules and requirements that apply to bids for property acquisition and the best of public health. 

What is the correct procedure?

With most Australian states and territories out of lockdown, open for inspections are largely business as usual, with certain limitations and regulations in place. Each state has its own checklist for ensuring COVID-safe auctions are standard practice.

NSW

In-person auctions are permitted, with a one-person per two square metres density, including children. 

The wearing of masks is not required, although social distancing and the use of hand sanitiser is recommended.

Victoria

Up to 30 people are allowed inside a private home and 100 in an outdoor space. In-person auctions are permitted, with a one-person per two square metres density requirement when contact tracing is in place. Where manual record keeping is used, a one-person per four square metres density applies. 

Queensland

Live auctions are permitted with a one-person per two square metres density requirement. Real estate agents must receive and retain contact information about all attendees.  

Western Australia

In Perth and Peel, live auctions are permitted, with density requirements of one person per four square metres. Currently, masks must be worn at all times.

Outside these areas, a one-person per two square metres density applies to auctions in WA. Masks are not required, but social distancing and hand sanitising, as in all Australian states, are encouraged. 

Northern Territory

There are no limits to the number of people attending an auction, but groups of 100 to 500 attendees require the estate agent to comply with a COVID-19 safety checklist. This includes contact tracing and other safety measures.

ACT

Real estate businesses must have a COVID-safety plan and enforce contact-tracing procedures, where applicable, for auctions hosting more than 25 people. Up to 25 people (excluding staff, personnel and homeowners) can attend an auction without any density-quota limitations.  

Tasmania

The total number of people attending an auction cannot exceed one person per two square metres. Up to 250 are permitted at an undivided indoor space and 1000 per undivided outdoor space, not excluding staff and children. Minimum COVID-19 safety standards also apply. 

South Australia

In this southern state, the maximum number of attendees is determined by venue size. Density requirements limit one person per two square metres, excluding staff. Real estate businesses conducting auctions in South Australia must enforce a COVID-19 safety plan, including contact tracing. 

New Zealand

Real estate agents in New Zealand request all auction attendees, even non-bidders, to register their details for future contact tracing. Pre-registration is encouraged for attendees to receive relevant COVID-safe auction measures via email.

The Real Estate Institute of New Zealand is also exploring alternate auction approaches, such as virtual reality attendance and phone bidding. Other selling methods, including tender or private treaty, are also being recommended by the REINZ.    

If you require further information about the latest COVID-safe requirements for auctions, contact the real estate business conducting your auction of interest or visit government-run coronavirus agencies in your state or country.