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DRE threatens enforcement of COVID showing protocols

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In a letter released on October 9, the Enforcement Division of the Department of Real Estate (DRE) reiterated that the health and safety of consumers is a priority, and that complaints regarding non-compliance with the showing protocols have been and will continue to be investigated.

COVID showing protocols (per the COVID-19 Real Estate Guidance or "the Guidance") require, among other things, that all visitors to a property wear masks, agree to the posted rules of entry and use hand sanitizer upon entry. Agents must also clean and disinfect the property both before and after each showing and ensure that social distancing and all other COVID showing protocols are adhered to.

In demonstration of how seriously the DRE takes these showing protocols, the Enforcement Section released a letter indicating the steps it will take upon receiving information of a licensee's non-compliance. Those steps are taken in the following order:

1. Attempt to educate the licensee or licensees, including contacting a licensee’s responsible broker if the licensee is a salesperson or broker associate. As part of its education effort, the Enforcement Section will review the Guidance with the licensee and seek to obtain assurances from the licensee and the licensee’s broker that the brokerage, its affiliates/agents and its employees will comply with the Guidance going forward.

2. If a licensee or that licensee’s broker continues to operate outside the Guidance, the Department may consider pursuing citations and/or other disciplinary action, as is deemed appropriate. The Department also may refer the licensee and the licensee’s broker to state or local health and/or law enforcement officials.

The DRE has gone so far as to actually encourage agents to come forward and make complaints. The letter concludes, "If DRE licensees are made aware of a real estate licensee who is not following the Guidance, please contact the Department of Real Estate at 1-877-373-4542.”

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