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Property agent group appeals to Chan Chun Sing to allow physical viewings of vacant units

AN association of real estate agents in Singapore has appealed to Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chan Sing to allow potential tenants to physically view vacant property units when the circuit breaker lifts on June 2.

The Institute of Estate Agents (IEA) said landlords and owners – who have mortgage loans to service – as well as property agents will suffer further loss of income if the suspension of physical viewings of properties continues beyond June 2. A normal tenancy deal takes about a month to complete.

Furthermore, the June to July period is a peak period where potential tenants, who are mostly foreigners, start their home search so that they can move into their new homes by August, before the international school semester starts.

Some tenants may choose to move to more affordable properties during the downturn, the association told Mr Chan.

But with the suspension of physical viewings, IEA has received feedback that tenants are concerned about hidden problems in the properties that will not be visible through video or virtual viewings.

In a letter dated May 21, IEA chief executive Tracey Wong suggested precautionary measures that can be put in place for physical viewings of vacant property units. This includes temperature checks, limiting the number of people in a unit, contact tracing measures, and the filling in of health declaration forms.

"As much as we have to innovatively evolve our property agent duties through Zoom meetings and presentations, using videos to market property and other 'safe' methods, there is still a required degree of human presence (with safe distancing) to effectively execute our work," she said.

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