House on Auction. Advice Needed to Protect The Family with Low Immunity Due to Corona Virus

Our owner has put the house on auction and we are tenanted in the property. We have a family member who has low immunity as well. We are worried that due to auction, all sorts of random people will be walking into the house and touching everything.

What rights do we have to protect ourselves at this moment? The owner doesn't care, the real estate agent is unresponsive. I called the local council and they are clueless. Even though WHO has declared as a pandemic, they say they have no rules at this time. I am speechless that the government doesn't know what to do?

Any suggestions or advice is appreciated at the moment to protect. If there is one or two Coronavirus (this is mostly Asian dominated suburb) then it would be spreading to others.

Comments

  • +56 votes

    Just tell the agent you're not going to allow walk-throughs due to the current risk. Let them go ahead and try taking it to the tribunal - that will probably be cancelled/postponed as well for the same reasons.

    • -6 votes

      If that doesn't work and they still go ahead with the auction - keep the house dirty for the opening. They will sure respond then…

      •  

        Are agents even telling clients to go ahead with auctions, since attendance numbers probably won't be great…

        • +2 votes

          Probably. Wouldn’t Could it be, in an agent’s mind, something along the lines of any sale is better than no sale? Which is a shitty attitude to take towards someone’s house, but desperation breeds all sorts of shadiness.

          • Edit; I need to clarify this because it wouldn’t be fair to characterise all REA as greedy, or uncaring. There would, I’d imagine be some unscrupulous REAs’ who might carry on without the best interests of their clients in mind, and still push for sale even though there is going to be less demand.
          • +3 votes

            @Jawanzar:

            and still push for sale even though there is going to be less demand.

            According to last weeks clearance rates, there is still a lot of demand! I think selling a house in these times might still be a good idea.

            Remember on the day you don't need to sell and can always not put the house on the market if the bidding isn't there.

          • +4 votes

            @Jawanzar:

            any sale is better than no sale

            This is pretty much how all sales people operate all the time. Funny thing about being paid per sale is that it makes you want to make a lot of sales…

          •  

            @Jawanzar:

            desperation breeds all sorts of shadiness

            REAs need to put food on the table too. Not that I think they're generally that poor, but at the end of the day they're still commission based - no sales = no (real) pay.

            If anything, I'd hope that between the current downturn and the recent financial sector shake-up, REAs will change to fee-for-service rather than being commission based.

            •  

              @Chandler: I thought some already were fee-for-service.

              •  

                @DisabledUser102420: Some are - they even use the fact in their advertising that you are paying them for a service, not having them take a cut of your sell price.

                Some (one in my experience, most of the old stalwarts is my completely uneducated assumption) also do both - commission + nickle & dime - want advertising (kinda necessary?) = $. Want photos (of course!) = $.

                Which way is better? I don't know. But in the current environment, I know I'd rather be confident in how much $ I have coming in.

    • +9 votes

      Good way to end up evicted when the panic ends

      • +31 votes

        Ok, Plan B: Tell the agent/owner you have tested positive for Corona and need to self-isolate.

        • +21 votes

          You don't even need to tell them that you have tested positive. Just say you have flu like symptoms and are self quarantining and see if they'll take the gamble.

          • +32 votes

            @serpserpserp: Don't even do that, tell them someone at work just got diagnosed, or just came back from overseas, so you're having to self-isolate. No proof needed

    •  

      Does OP have to be absent from the property at the time of the auction? If not, he/she can start pretending to coughing their lungs out, and auctioneers will leave straight away. Just pretend and say "I have just normal flu, nothing to panic". Act normal, act like nothing is wrong. But I feel this isn't why you are asking the question. You are worried that once sold, the new owner may take over and get rid of you, or replace you with new tenant. Regardless, please keep us updated on the situation.

  • +3 votes

    Does this need to go any further than a simple clean with anti-septic spray after an inspection?

    Take away the Corona virus you will still be doing that anyway right?

    • -5 votes

      Good suggestion. Should we request the agent to handle this ? Do they need to spray the entire house ?

      • +2 votes

        Why can't you do this? Just buy a pack of antiseptic wipes.

        Literally asking someone else to wipe for you lol.

        • +23 votes

          Just buy a pack of antiseptic wipes.

          You got a time machine to go back a few weeks to when such things were able to be purchased?

            • +4 votes

              @HighAndDry: So you know the OP's location and shopping options? Negged for "laziness" and accusatory posting.

            • +1 vote

              @HighAndDry: You contribute nothing to society. Go away.

  • +11 votes

    Contact your local and Federal MP and I'm sure they will look after your concerns .

    • +7 votes

      LOL. Best sarcasm I heard in months

    •  

      Thanks for the suggestion. I have dropped a note. Let us see what they say

  • +12 votes

    Has the immunodeficiency been medically diagnosed or is it just a person that gets sick all the time?

    I don't see how an Asian dominated suburb would carry more risk, the racist undertones from that line doesn't apply to this virus.

    Unless the open house will have more than 100 people gathering there at any one time I don't see how you can prevent the open house based on current Government advice provided this morning.

    • -10 votes

      Yes, it has been medically diagnosed. Sorry it might have sounded like a racial undertone. But as per the agent, more than 50% of the people would be from China would be coming to the auction, that was the intent. Of course, anyone can carry the virus.

      • +1 vote

        I would use then take that medical diagnosis and put it under the estate agent's nose and if nothing is done, as per popsiee's suggestion your local member would probably be the next best bet before…….ACA!

        China has actually been doing pretty well and it seems to be under control there so hopefully that is of some comfort.

        You are not in NSW or QLD so yet another factor in your favor as those two states are being hit pretty hard.

      • +8 votes

        But as per the agent, more than 50% of the people would be from China

        How can this possibly be when there are travel restrictions and self imposed quarantine in place? Do you mean their ethnicity is Chinese but they are Australian residents?

        If that is the case they should be as healthy as any other Australian.

      • +3 votes

        And whilst we are going there… you wouldn't be as concerned if 50% of the people were Italians?

        • -2 votes

          Definitely, Italians (actually all Europeans) are just as bad as the Chinese.

          • +3 votes

            @arkie0:

            Definitely, Italians (actually all Europeans) are just as bad as the Chinese.

            What do you mean by "just as bad" ?

  • +16 votes

    Why are people so keen on screwing over the landlord?

    He is just trying to sell his property as allowed by the law.

    I am assuming all the required communication to that effect has been carried out before hand (since OP has the details), so it is likely the landlord / agent has satisfied the requirements.

    • +10 votes

      Given that COVID-19 has really only escalated in the last week or two, maybe the communication came before that?

      I think in this case with the medically diagnosed immunodeficiency it would be the right thing for the landlord and agent to work with the tenant to find a solution as that person is in a high risk category for COVID-19.

      Legally I doubt the landlord and agent have done anything wrong but this should be a time where we are more considerate/compassionate if we can afford to be.

      • -1 vote

        Thanks.

      • -5 votes

        with the medically diagnosed immunodeficiency

        The OP is no worse off, he would be equally scared of the other thousands of viruses that can still attack someone of lower immunity.

        •  

          Each person with COVID-19 has been estimated to infect another 2-3 whereas seasonal influenza is about 1.3.

          OP should be twice as scared?

    • +12 votes

      No one is trying to screw the landlord. As a human being, I am trying to protect myself and family. The context is selling the house. Put yourself in our shoes and see when you have a low immunity person in the family and inspections are scheduled with random people walking in every day.

      • -18 votes

        Again….you are no worse off with or without Corona, this should just be another day to you keeping the house clean. Your issue is not Corona, please don't use it against the landlord.

        • +2 votes

          you are no worse off with or without Corona

          umm what?

      • +2 votes

        I'm a landlord myself and I support you. I bet your landlord doesn't need to be there so he/she is ok for the agent to do it. Possibly the agent doesn't want to go as well. TBH I don't own a million-dollar house so can't speak for their rush to sell.

    • +3 votes

      The landlord can still sell the house but should show some consideration to the tenants condition . Real estate agent could quite simply set up inside video footage of the house leaving only inspection outside the house if some thought used .

      • +7 votes

        Who here would buy a house based on videos and stills?

        •  

          Who would buy a house now full-stop?

          We're either on the precipice of a fall or we're not. But unless it's a phenomenal deal surely, as a buyer, you'd wait a few weeks to find out.

    • +2 votes

      I know right, he's just trying to sell before the crash.

    •  

      And if you can’t make your electricity payment you can be disconnected. But you won’t because some have decided to have a social conscience

  • +2 votes

    Why are you assuming people want to touch everything.

    Most people aren’t even opening doors by hand, no one wants to walk in your house and touch your stuffs who knows if your house is clean, and doesn’t have the virus!

  • +5 votes

    No transmissions in Australia related to travel from China in more than 2 weeks
    https://www.covid19data.com.au/

    Cases related to travel from the USA is a bigger problem. Direct your discrimination at Americans, at least it will be factual

    • +1 vote

      Dude they can't fly here from china

      • +3 votes

        Tell that to OP:

        Sorry it might have sounded like a racial undertone. But as per the agent, more than 50% of the people would be from China

        • +1 vote

          It’s not racist. It was out of control there, given family/friends ties means more people would be going back and forth more than non-Chinese ethnic Australians, that could increase the chance of it spreading, Whether this is the case or not due to travel restrictions or the fact it has lessened there, who knows.

          •  

            @YellowHouse: It's currently out of control everywhere. Thinking that avoiding Chinese people will save you will make you complacent and then BAM some Italian femme fatale infects you.

    •  

      Bruh

  • +3 votes

    Maybe get the REA to foot the cost of a box of surgical masks and a few boxes (varying sizes) of gloves. Shouldn't be more than $100. They will pass that cost to the vendor anyway.

    Get everyone at the door to wash hands, mask up and glove up.

    • +2 votes

      Good luck trying to get those masks and then having them wear it properly!

      PPE is getting harder to get, vinyl gloves are being rationed with latex gloves as a possible backup..

    •  

      That's what I have told him.

      • +1 vote

        I went to an open for inspection last Saturday. I made sure to touch every surface.

        • +1 vote

          There is an oversized rectal thermometer waiting for you in the afterlife.

          • +5 votes

            @tshow: Don’t encourage him/her!

    •  

      That makes complete sense too. My REA has advised they're gloving up etc for rent inspections, why wouldn't it be the case for randoms coming to your house for a home open?

    • +2 votes

      Drop an email to the agent:
      - asking what measures do they take and you will have to sign it off. Otherwise you will block the inspections
      - what if your family member is infected, ask them to put in writing to wear the costs

  • +6 votes

    With travel ban from China, Chinese returning to their countries because it is deemed safer, and asians are more likely to wear a mask themselves anyways - Don't think Asian-dominated suburb would be any different in terms of risk.

    Most of the new cases are either travelling from around the world or locally transmitted.

    Anyways, can try getting masks (if you can) and gloves maybe?

    •  

      Thanks. Agreed.

    •  

      Anyways, can try getting masks (if you can) and gloves maybe?

      You don't even need to do this if you aren't present at inspections. Just leave it in the hands of the agent to deal with the inspections and you be somewhere else.

      Then when you come back, just clean the surfaces around the house.

  • +1 vote

    Just tell them you have tested positive

    •  

      This suggestion would actually work!

      Or… self isolating after a quick trip o/seas

  •  

    Put a sign on the door saying persons inside are infected with the virus and no entry is allowed. Not much they can do about it.

    • -1 vote

      If they can prove you are lying, be prepared to pay a lot in damages.

      • +2 votes

        If they prove you haven't got it then you obviously recovered. Good luck wasting money on that.

        • -1 vote

          It's a virus. There are ways to know if someone has been infected in the past.

          •  

            @tshow: Please show such source, I’m genuinely interested.

            • -1 vote

              @cloudy: Viruses leave an acquired immunity or antibodies. It is in every blood test you take to know if you need a booster vaccine.

              Since we do not have a vaccine for COVID19, the only way to acquire the antibodies is to be infected.

              In the absence of the antibodies, a person would have not been exposed to the virus.

              I'm not sure how to provide citation for this as it is not contested information. It is simply wikiable.

              • -1 vote

                @tshow: Sorry, I wasn't clear.

                If someone lies about having the virus, as suggested by Mechz, you are saying "There are ways to know if someone has been infected in the past."

                I'd like to know how, other than requesting people for their blood sample (which no doubt they will refuse.)

                • -1 vote

                  @cloudy: I would ask for documentation showing proof of infection.

                  The the absence of documentation, it would reasonably follow that an alternative means to conclusive prove the fact should be employed.

                  • +1 vote

                    @tshow: Giving your agent a medical certificate is not part of the tenancy agreement. So no.

      •  

        Just leave a sign outside saying the tenant who refuses to leave house unattended has a slight cough, but don't worry he feels fine; it isn't caused by coronavirus. Please come in.

    • +1 vote

      Don't need to lie about being infected. Just say you are self-isolating so no-one can come in.

  • +1 vote

    OP - I had an email from a real estate agency - see below. Enquire if they have someyhing similiar.

    We are happy to report that none of our team members have been overseas recently, therefore we have a full complement of staff to assist you

    All attendees will be asked prior to entry at open homes, if they have been overseas in the previous two weeks and if they have, they will be denied entry, as will anyone showing flu-like symptoms

    We will co-ordinate with our tenants prior to routine inspections being carried out

    All of our team have reviewed our COVID-19 hygiene policy and are practising regular hand washing and sanitisation

    Hand sanitiser (provided we have access to it) will be available and used throughout open homes and inspections

    Signs will be displayed reminding attendees to practise safe greeting and hygiene measures (no hand shaking or close physical contact)

    We’ve ramped up our cleaning procedures internally at the office with alcohol-based sanitisers

    Our team are currently working from the office; however, we are set up and ready to roll remotely if the need arises to ensure as little disruption to our services as possible

    We are introducing state of the art technologies which will allow us to carry out online meetings, virtual inspections and online auction bidding if required

    • +9 votes

      Mate, I hate to tell you this but all those signs, popups, and email responses are BS.

      My websites are maintained by a contracted marketing company. They type up that stuff and I can't even be bothered reading it before approving the pop-up. (Because we scrub up with the expectation our patients are hiding HIV/HepC and other diseases.)

      I'm willing to bet the REA hasn't read their own policy.

      •  

        Thanks for the insight..

    •  

      Thank you . This is very helpful. I have asked the agent as well to be prepared for the visits like above.

      •  

        Good luck with it

  • +1 vote

    leave a bottle of hand sanitiser at the door and get the agent to ask people who come to use it before entering

  • +2 votes

    Any suggestions or advice is appreciated at the moment to protect. If there is >one or two Coronavirus (this is mostly Asian dominated suburb) then it would >be spreading to others.

    At this point, I believe the Asian is the least harmful than the European.

    I would ask the agent for the inspector to wear Mask and minimise the open house time. If you can source hand sanitizer you should provide at the doorstep and enforce everyone to use it before setting their foot in. Also, it will be good if everyone leaving their shoes at the door instead of wearing it walk around the house.

    After the inspection you will need to clear the house, there is nothing you can do about this with the time you spend on cleaning. If the agent is not co-operating you could choose not to tidy up the house.

    •  

      Thanks for the reply. It is helpful.

  • +1 vote

    Insist that anybody viewing wears both P2/N95 masks and gloves. Ensure you are home during any viewing (they can't deny you this it is your home) and follow everyone around so you know what they have touched. Clean all surfaces and spray disinfectant prior to the immune compromised person returns. Place a note on your door and throughout your home that an immuno-compromised person lives there so please do not touch anything and not to enter if at all unwell. Insist on no open homes but allow comprehensive photos be taken so only truly interested parties are viewing.