An open house was held in Toronto over the weekend, despite there being a sick tenant inside, who later tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, all potential buyers were exposed to the deadly virus.
As reported by CP24, the open house was held for a three-floor home in Riverdale, located on Bowden Street just south of Danforth Avenue.
Area resident Jeffery Wood told CTV News Toronto that he went with his friends to see the listing and that potential buyers were asked to wear masks, remain physically distant, and provide contact information.
These are all safety measures the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) called to be used during open houses and showings in July when most of the province entered Stage three and open houses were permitted to resume after being temporarily suspended since April due to COVID-19.
“As we walked up the stairs and we walked around the second floor, we saw there was a door and it had a sign on it that said ‘sorry, I’m sick,’” said Wood.
“I thought it was incredibly irresponsible for that person, first of all, to be even hosting an open house knowing that there was a sick person inside.”
Two days after the open house, Wood said he received a phone call from the agency that showed the home and he was informed the person inside the house he visited had since tested positive for COVID-19.
“To not give us a heads up that FYI, even if he didn't have a confirmation that the person had COVID to at least say, by the way, there's a person who's sick inside.”
According to CP24, the house is listed under King Chen, Broker of Record at Home One Realty. While the broker was not in attendance of the showing himself, he did confirm to CTV News that a tenant, who was at the home on Saturday, has since tested positive for COVID-19.
Chen also said that at the time of the showing, they did not know the result of the tenant’s COVID-19 test and that she was moved to a hotel late Saturday afternoon.
What's more, Chen said the showings continued on Sunday and that the agency did not do any extra cleaning after the tenant left the home.
The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) said it was notified on September 21 about this incident and has confirmed that the listing was already terminated and showings have halted.
TRREB CEO John DiMichele told Toronto Storeys that in July of this year, TRREB provided Members with an Open House Guidance document to remind them of their public health obligations.
While the brokerage determines the services they offer to clients, DiMichele says TRREB has stressed to Members that open houses should only be used as a last resort if requested by a seller, and to follow the TRREB Open House guidance document.
"The Member should have immediately notified Public Health so measures could be taken to assist with any necessary contact tracing and to carry out any other necessary safety measures as directed," said DiMichele, adding that this incident would be a breach of specific Public Health regulations and directives including Toronto Public Health, Ontario Ministry of Health, and Public Health Agency of Canada.
"While the listing has been terminated, TRREB will also bring this matter to the attention of the Real Estate Council of Ontario, the regulator in charge of Code of Ethics enforcement, to investigate," added DiMichele.
Meanwhile, COVID-19 case numbers continue to increase throughout Ontario. On Tuesday morning, the province reported an increase of 478 confirmed cases from the day prior.