Can Sellers Require COVID Vaccine for Showings?

require vaccines for selling a house

With news around vaccine mandates making headlines at the local, regional, and national level, it’s important to understand how this relates to you as a REALTOR and to your clients. It’s easy to be confused about how vaccine mandate rules may apply to you, your clients, and even the properties you show and what you need to do to be in compliance.

Recently, OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) issued an Emergency Temporary Standard to establish COVID-19 vaccination, verification, and testing requirements for employers with more than 100 employees. However, even more recently, the Supreme Court blocked that mandate, leaving many people with questions on, “what do we do next?” While OSHA has withdrawn its mandates, they are still working to provide standard guidance for companies to keep employees and customers safe and it’s important to stay in the know to ensure you and your clients are following all current legal and local guidelines and regulations.

What are the vaccine regulations in the Hudson Valley?

At the present time, there are no legal regulations around COVID-19 vaccination requirements as it relates to Hudson Valley real estate practices. With regards to independent contractors, OSHA ETS does not cover independent contractors, real estate brokerages are not required to implement a vaccination verification and testing plan. However, given the public health threat posed by COVID-19, it may be prudent for real estate brokerages to establish a vaccine policy for their business. Having a good plan in place and sticking to that plan helps everyone understand your office’s and practice’s regulations. Consistency is key and while we know that this is a fast-changing environment, clear communication of guidelines and practices helps everyone understand and comply even when those are set by you for your specific business.

But what about sellers and buyers? Can a seller require potential buyers to be fully vaccinated to enter their home for a showing? Well, this can be a challenging question. Generally, a seller may set parameters on individuals who enter their property as the property owner. Listing brokers should obtain any requirements or requests in writing, so that they can also communicate this clearly in advance to any showing agents and even in the property listing showing instructions. It is also important that any regulations or requests by sellers need to be applied to potential buyers equally, in line with the Fair Housing Act, and based entirely on exposure risk and with consideration for exemptions for people with disabilities or sincerely held religious beliefs.

What about landlords and tenants?

Interestingly, vaccination status is not a protected class under the Fair Housing Act, and other prohibited bases for discrimination in housing still apply. That means that even if a landlord wants to require all tenants to be fully vaccinated, they still have to make the same exceptions as sellers with showings. Disabilities, underlying medical conditions, and religious exemptions are all factors that need to be accommodated regardless of vaccination status or a rental property’s policies.

We know that navigating the real estate market during COVID and beyond can be challenging. Ulster County Board of REALTORS® is here to help. Contact us or visit our website for more information, and also check out NAR’s COVID resources for even more great info!

Technology in Real Estate
Interest Rate Increase in 2022
No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.