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The Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV) has welcomed the Victorian Premier’s indication that private inspections for the purchase or leasing of commercial premises can now resume.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced the news at a press conference on Sunday, 18 October, as the state navigates its way out of stage 4 restrictions.
The REIV recounted how private inspections for sale or lease were allowed for residential properties back in September. It added that weeks of lobbying led to a removal of the differentiation between residential and commercial properties in regional Victoria, which was replaced with a simpler reference to “real estate”.
But the same adjustment was not made in metropolitan Melbourne.
A statement from the real estate body said it was “bewildered at the failure to apply the same treatment for residential and commercial properties”.
“Even without COVID-19 restrictions, it is common practice for commercial properties to be inspected by private appointment,” it continued.
“Conducting a private inspection of a commercial property can be done very safely, as there is a higher probability the property will be vacant, without people, furniture or fittings.”
The REIV said it is pleased that the government has corrected that oversight, commenting that the announcement is welcomed by property owners, buyers, tenants and the real estate profession as it will enable the entire sector to resume getting people back to work.
“The commercial sector has been suffering, with many businesses unable to open or trade. The ability to commence inspections of commercial properties for sale or lease will help with economic recovery and allow business owners to sell, buy or lease properties to rebuild their businesses,” the REIV said.
REIV CEO Gil King called the decision “great news”.
“While we were disappointed with the limits placed on the commercial sector in the first announcements, we welcome the announcement today,” he said.
He said it should be seen “as a positive and encouraging step towards a return to ‘normal’”.
Weighing in on the state’s decision to push forward with loosened restrictions, REIV president Leah Calnan added that “it is now time for all of us to start a safe and gradual return to work and rebuild the economy step by step”.
She considered the decision as recognition that the real estate profession “can be trusted to conduct inspections and auctions in a safe and responsible manner”.
“We have done so previously, and will continue to do so for the benefit of all Victorians,” the REIV president said.