Visits of properties and dwellings, other than virtual, cannot take place until May 4th, subject to an extension of current government measures regarding isolation. Public health authorities keep telling us that the virus continues to live on surfaces. This means that even in the absence of occupants, physical visits of properties can be a source of spreading and are not allowed at this stage of the pandemic.
Building inspectors have an obligation to comply with government guidelines in the context of the pandemic. As of April 20th, 2020, some inspection activities related to real estate transactions will be permitted including some inspections. Residential building inspections activities are allowed if they are considered priority and are carried out in accordance with the health instructions of government authorities. Pre-sale and pre-purchase inspections of a property scheduled for a possession date of no later than July 31, 2020 are authorized by the Government of Quebec.
The Ordre des évaluateurs agréés du Québec has issued a communication to appraisers asking them to use their professional judgment and follow public authority guidelines. In a pandemic situation, if an appraiser has enough information on the immovable to be appraised, he can generate a limited report without inspecting the property following the applicable professional standards of practice. The standards stipulate as follows: “An immovable property that is the subject of an appraisal must be inspected, barring exceptional circumstances, in which case the exceptional circumstances must be explained in the report.” In its directive the Ordre des évaluateurs agréés du Québec has indicated that this pandemic constitutes an exceptional circumstance.
Notaries who wish to do so may carry out notarized acts remotely, including the signing of deeds of sale, using technologies and following the directives issued by the Chambre des notaires. Notaries at their discretion may also receive buyers and sellers at their offices to notarize a transaction while at the same time respecting the recommended social distancing guidelines.